Working Women During WWII

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:History

Document 1

This paper will discuss on the domestic impacts of the Second World War while focusing on Lowell, a city in Massachusetts. Introduction The Second World War was effective in promoting the dramatic rise of the number of women that are working in the United States. Studies indicate that from March 1941 to August 1944, the number of women that work raised from 10. million to 18 million. This eventually resulted into the reversal of the downward trend that was caused by the depression in the United States. At the time the Second World War was beginning, about half of the positions in the textile industries were already occupied by the women even though they consisted of one third of the total labor of the city (Summerfield 2013). The basic positions in the mills were mostly occupied by women, representing about five percent of the foremen and craftsmen that worked.

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In Lowell, both the women and men considered working in the mills as a family tradition. Clawson and Knetsch (2013) illustrated that after women joined the labor force after 1941 and also looked for other jobs, it did not necessarily mean that they had no wish of ever working where they were previously. Most of the women explain that they did not have any other choice but to look for other new areas to work in. Remington was the hugest employer with almost five thousand people on the payroll. Seventy percent of these people were females with almost ninety percent of them from Lowell town. This created a lot worries for the owners of the mills who ended up losing many lowly paid workers. The Remington Company produced cartridges which became among the hugest things that occurred to the city.

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The tasks that were performed by women varied from becoming mopping the floors to maintaining the machines. However, in early 1942, cotton farmers from Lowell received a waiver that permitted all women above the age of thirty years to perform their duties in the third shift. In the subsequent years that followed, the Massachusetts parliament passed a law that allowed for the suspension of any regulations that prevented minors or women from working. Other legislations were also made that enhanced the suspension of working on holidays or Sunday if necessity arose from demand of war materials. The changes that had been manifested at that particular time reflected how women were close from finding protective labor legislation and also aiming at equalizing the working conditions of women and men. The changes in the legislations had an impact on the sectors that women worked in.

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The Second World War also played a big role in promoting the geographical mobility and freedom while working. According Margaret Mead, women had key experiences because their men were away. They got jobs, earned good money that enabled them to sustain themselves in good living conditions. The Second World War also played an important role in enabling women to overcome their traditional limitations that were mostly on cultural backgrounds. For example, when the Merrimeck denied jobs to Catholics, demonstrations were held in 1941 early December. Many women always wanted to maintain their jobs or even find other new ones but were always faced with resignations that came from prewar conditions favored by propaganda. Hall (2013) states that unions dominated by men were also in the forefront in raising fears about another depression but fought to keep their new organizational power by focusing on issues about how they would get a means of living.

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Hence because women had little or no priorities, many employers became interested in female employees because they were cheap, unprotected and plentiful in production. In Lowell, many women labored in the textile industry until when it approached mid-1950s. Women had gained a conditioning from the depression which made women from Lowell to acknowledge the inescapable. Duffy, B. E.  Remake, remodel: Women's magazines in the digital age. University of Illinois Press. Green, H.

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