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During World War II, the American government made a conscious effort to include women in the war effort using a vast array of media to urge the public. Large scale campaigns were launched to encourage women to enter the work force and fill places that were previously held by men, as they went off to fight a worldwide war across the Atlantic and the Pacific. The military for the first time in history set out deliberately to recruit large numbers of women to fill not only essential nursing positions, but to meet military requirements across a vast array of officer and enlisted skills. Women were called upon to work in factories making bombs and aircraft parts, as air raid wardens, driving tanks, building shops and so on.

Patriotism was used as a major recruiting device to lure women into the industrial workforce. The "Women's Bureau" of the "War Manpower Commission" had to work hard to combat initial reluctance among employers to hire women. These overcome by advertising gender constructions that presented images of women at work while respecting the traditional separation of sex roles. The propaganda worked as eight million women joined the American labor force between 1940 and 1944. These women not only entered the workforce in record numbers but they also entered the military.


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© Amusing Planet, 2013.

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