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Social Impact of War: The Experience of Women IB History of the Americas “If you can drive a car, you can run a machine.” “Why do we need women workers?

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Presentation on theme: "Social Impact of War: The Experience of Women IB History of the Americas “If you can drive a car, you can run a machine.” “Why do we need women workers?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Impact of War: The Experience of Women IB History of the Americas “If you can drive a car, you can run a machine.” “Why do we need women workers? You can’t build ships, planes, and guns without them.”

2 “It wasn’t just my brother’s country, or my husband’s country, it was my country as well. And so this war wasn’t just their war, it was my war, and I needed to serve in it.” Major Beatrice Hood Stroup Women’s Army Corps, WWII

3 EFFECTS ON THE HOMEFRONT: WOMEN, WORK AND FAMILY Armed Forces - 200K+ women; non-combat roles: clerical jobs in WACS and WAVES. Armed Forces - 200K+ women; non-combat roles: clerical jobs in WACS and WAVES. Work Force - 6.5 million women entered (57% increase) Work Force - 6.5 million women entered (57% increase) – concentrated in government clerical jobs – "Rosie the Riveter" Families and home life – “8-hour orphans”, juvenile delinquency, crime, rationing Families and home life – “8-hour orphans”, juvenile delinquency, crime, rationing

4 Women in the Armed Forces

5 Women in WWII: Introduction 400,000 American women served American women were in every service branch, assigned around the world 1 st time the armed services actively recruited women in large numbers Helped alleviate major workforce shortages in various fields within the military Service helped in expanding women’s roles and opportunities around the world

6 Women took on jobs in the war effort, including those such as: – Military nurses – working near battles around the world to save wounded men – Factory workers – building the machines necessary to fight wars – Journalists – reporting the happenings of the battle front to news agencies in their home countries

7 Army Nurse Corps (ANC) Est.1901 - oldest female branch of U.S. military services Served all over world, including near front lines in the Battle of the Bulge (Ardennes Forest, on German/Belgian border) Army nurses in Philippines were taken prisoner and cared for other inmates during the 2½ years they were POWs April 1945, suicide plane off waters of Okinawa crashed into the USS Comfort, killing 6 Army nurses and 1 Navy nurse 201 Army nurses died during the war Many African American nurses tried to join, but most were denied - A unit of African American nurses served in Tagap, Burma, in September 1944

8 Navy Nurse Corps Established in 1908 Navy nurses were at Pearl Harbor and cared for the injured after the attack 11 Navy nurses and 66 Army nurses were Japanese POWs for over 3 years Army and Navy nurses served throughout the world and suffered highest casualty rate of all military women – 83 taken as POWs “One day it seemed like the whole area was full of ships and the next morning there was not a single one. We knew the invasion was beginning. We were on alert. We could not leave and were on duty 24 hours a day. We didn’t know what we were waiting for…And then the causalities came. It took about 3 or 4 days after the invasion before we started receiving causalities…We did not sleep for the first 24 hours, and then finally sleep had to be rationed because no one would leave their work.” Helen Pavlovsky Ramsey, LT, USNR (Ret.), Stationed at Royal Hospital in Netley, England on D-Day

9 Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and Women’s Army Corps (WAC) WAAC became WAC when women given full status and benefits 300 WACs worked at Los Alamos, NM, on the Manhattan Project atomic bomb development – Cryptographers, chemists, photographers, electronics techs, etc. 40,000 WACs assigned to Air Force (“Air WACs”) and were radio operators, code instructors, and airplane mechanics. Former WAC, Sherian Grace Cadoria, became the 1 st African American female general in 1985 Oveta Culp Hobby was 1 st Director of WAC – Later became 1 st person to hold position of Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and 2 nd woman to hold a cabinet position

10 Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) Were control tower operators, aviation metal smiths, aviation machinist mates, and gunnery instructors. Between December 1941 and August 1945, 7 officers and 62 enlisted WAVES died while on active duty 3 WAVES awarded Cross of Lorraine by France for training French pilots – Invented COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) and guided U.S. Navy into the computer age “WAVES of the Navy, there’s a ship sailing down the bay/ And she won’t come into port again until that vict’ry day./ Carry on for that gallant ship and for every hero brave/ Who will find ashore his man-sized chore was done by a Navy WAVE.” – WAVES song

11 Marine Corps Women’s Reserve Were automotive mechanics, auditors and statisticians, assembly and repair mechanics, weather observers, teletype operators, welders, map makers, etc. Over 22,000 female officers and enlisted served during the war Marine Corps Women’s Reserve Band formed in 1943, and toured country, often playing concerts at hospitals “They are Marines. They don’t have a nickname and they don’t need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine post. They inherit the traditions of Marines. They are Marines.” General Thomas Holcomb, Marine Commandant, on the issue of women in the Marines, in a March 27, 1944 issue of Life

12 Women’s Reserve of the Coast Guard Reserve (SPARs) Over 10,000 women volunteered for SPARs from 1942-1946 SPARs is from Coast Guard motto – Semper Paratus, Always Ready 1 st women to attend a military academy – During war, Coast Guard was only service to train women’s officer corps at its academy Were parachute riggers, chaplains assistants, air control-tower operators, vehicle drivers, gunner’s mate, etc. Assigned to highly classified LORAN (Long Range Aid to Navigation) project, which enabled navigation under all weather conditions Was not until October 1944, that Coast Guard authorized the acceptance of African American women to enlist March 1945, Olivia J. Hooker became 1 st African American in March 1945

13 Women Air force Service Pilots (WASP) 1,078 women were WASP and became 1 st women in history to fly American military aircraft Stationed at 120 air bases across the U.S. Flew more than 60 million miles ferrying aircraft, flight testing, transporting cargo, etc. 38 WASP died in the line of duty Unlike other women in military services, WASP denied military status and benefits “…On through the storm and the sun/ Fly on till our mission is done/ From factory to base, let the WASPs set the pace,/ We’re a thousand strong!” From WASP song “Fifinella” is WASP mascot and was designed by Walt Disney for a proposed film, but he allowed WASP to use it

14 WOMEN AT WAR AND WAR ON THE HOME FRONT Women in the War The Canadian Women's Auxiliary Corp. On August 13, 1941, the Canadian Women's Auxiliary Corp. was established. Women in the Corp. took over jobs as clerks, vehicle drivers, messengers and canteen workers. Their pay was only 2/3 of the men's wages.

15 WOMEN AT WAR AND WAR ON THE HOME FRONT Women in the War The WREN's On July 31, 1942, the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service was established. This division got the cream of the crop. The navy wouldn't look at a woman who didn't have excellent references.

16 Women in the Workforce

17 Women in WWII Benefited from huge demand for labor because of wartime production Many American women entered workforce for first time – “Rosie the Riveter”— icon of women worker – Women told it was their patriotic duty to work – Over 6 million women entered the workforce – Women who worked before the war were able to get better paying jobs when war began


19 WOMEN AT WAR AND WAR ON THE HOME FRONT Women at War Propaganda once again encouraged women to do “the right thing” and contribute to the war effort. “Roll Up Your Sleeves for Victory!” was one popular slogan. Posters showed women with goggles, dressed in overalls, and wearing kerchiefs or turbans over their hair to keep it from getting caught in factory machinery.


21 WOMEN AT WAR AND WAR ON THE HOME FRONT Women at War in Canada By 1943 there were over 261,000 women working in munitions factories In the aircraft industry alone there were over 33,000 women working alongside men building planes that would be used to win the war. Elizabeth “Elsie” McGill, who was the first woman to ever graduate from mechanical engineering in Canada, was in charge of Canadian production of two types of fighter planes used in the war.


23 Women, Families and Home life

24 Rationing The rationing and shortage of domestic resources fell more heavily on women to accommodate. Women's shopping and food preparation habits were affected by using ration stamps or other rationing methods


26 Frugality In the United States, women were urged by organized propaganda campaigns to practice frugality: – to carry groceries instead of using the car to preserve tire rubber for the war effort – to grow more of their family's food (in "Victory Gardens" for example) – to sew and repair clothing rather than buy new clothes – to raise money for and contribute to war bonds – and generally to contribute to the morale of the war effort through sacrifice.



29 8 hour orphans Mothers and children were frequently used as symbols of what the war was being fought to protect, yet they bore the brunt of social upheaval on the home front. Outcry over "eight-hour orphans" accompanied the remarkable development of Federal-local partnerships to provide daycare for the first time to large numbers of working women.

30 Did Women’s Roles Really Change? Men continued to dominate supervisory positions Women still paid less, restricted from joining labor unions Women who wanted to expand their working careers were looked down upon for not putting motherhood and household duties first Most were forced out of the workforce at the end of the war – 1950s: Women return role of housewives in suburbs Women veterans were not recognized for benefits until 1979.

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