Women of World War II
Published 04 Oct 2017
Indeed, the world wars that happened in history were two events which claimed millions of lives, stained interstate relationships, damaged billions worth of properties, and other possible injuries inflicted to humankind. Those were among the dark ages of the world. Though it happened years ago the scars left to its victims remain to be felt until this modern time. On the contrary, during the height of the entrance of the United States to the Second World War, a drastic change occurred within American society which can be considered as a phenomenon. One of the disregarded sectors of the society was given a wide variety of opportunities to participate actively which helped the American situation in times of war.
In the city of Beaumont in Texas, the people have actively engaged themselves in the campaign to do their share for the war. This campaign was to attract women into entering war jobs to be able to fill the labor shortages caused by the Great Depression and by the budding war itself. When Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941 Beaumont, together with the whole populace of the United States rigorously campaigned in making helping to win the war. The incident on Pearl Harbor forced the United States to participate in the Second World War which required them to have massive recruitment of soldiers. Since all members of the armed forces were males, the mass recruitment left the industries with insufficient manpower. This became the turning point to embrace the main character of the household into the business world – the women.
Cities like Beaumont immediately launched the campaign to fill in the essential careers which are vital for the war. Most of the jobs there were needed at that time involved wartime jobs such as in building weaponries and constructing war transportation. Most of the women were left behind at their homes by the time the males embarked on the battle zones and the American government found women as one of their hope in maintaining a breathing economy amidst the destructive and costly war which U.S. was actively participating. Two important themes were presented to be able to encourage women to partake in war jobs. The first one was the patriotic aim, in which the campaign stressed that by means of taking war jobs, it will be considered as the women’s share of fighting in the war together with the soldiers risking their lives. It was followed by the aim of earning real wages which most of the women at that time could not experience since employment was either limited or they were restricted to do household works.
“Women were encouraged to step out of their traditional roles as wife, mother, and homemakers and become war workers for the duration” (Holliman, 1995, p. 52). These themes successfully brought women into the war industries and actively took training and did jobs such as welding, metal work, marine electricity, and other works that were once dominated by men. Beaumont was successful in training and employing around 17,000 women since 1941 (Holliman, p. 54) and even dominated men in some areas of these works. Women’s role has been definitely changed in this period of the American society.
It can be considered that the case of the Beaumont women and the rest of the American women, who took part in this campaign, prompted the start of career-oriented women that the modern time have. Though they were not completely stripped off of their traditional roles, women were given an extended duty of serving the country by means of their service in the industrial world. The government was able to see them as an essential asset that makes up a productive American labor force and will help in the continuous process for the economical growth of the United States. The irony of it all, this particular ‘phenomenon’ of women in the U.S. brought positive drastic changes amidst the bloodshed that the country was submerged on at that time. With the patriotic and economic motivations, women took advantage of this campaign to be able to assert their capabilities and at the same time to play a significant role in the society where there skills will be valued and their will be protected. It became the path to the passionate American fight for women empowerment.
- Holliman, C.A. (1995). Beaumont Women During World War II. Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record, 31, 50-65.