Morgan 1 Matt Morgan Garibaldi Sec 64 Reaction Paper #2 Before World War II the differences in the sexual division

of labor were very clear cut with most of the women finding husbands and starting a family while the men would work to make the money to provide for his family. Women were not seen as ones that could be successful in the work force of the time and were only left to look after a family. This is where you see many of the typical images of the modern housewife cleaning, taking care of her children, and cooking dinner while her husband is away at work all day. He will come home and eat dinner with the family and then find time to relax and enjoy a beer while sitting on the sofa with no stress on his mind. This would soon come to an end when the bombing of Pearl Harbor occurred in December of 1941. After the bombing at Pearl Harbor, the United States plunged head first into war in both Europe and in the Pacific. As many of America’s men were being sent oversees to fight it left a large amount of holes that needed to be filled in our work force, not only to continue producing our essential resources for survival but now to produce wartime resources as well. Boats, trucks, bullets, guns all needed to be manufactured in order for our troops to be fully equipped and capable of fighting to their full potential to win the war. The only choice was to hire women to fill those jobs in the shipyards and factories doing the jobs the men were doing at the time. Many women jumped at the opportunity to work, not only to support their country and the husbands but also because they were never given the chance to work these types of jobs and were shunned away from the “men’s work.” Many of the jobs women were allowed to work

Morgan 2 were maids’ jobs which consisted of cooking and cleaning as well. Most of the women did not mind the physical labor and were adapting very well because for the first time many of these women were getting paid a fair amount of money which was more than what they would receive anywhere else. But, even though these women were enjoying their pay checks they were still not being paid the same amount as the men were for the same work. This sort of gender stratification did not stop women from wanting to become more successful even though they were not seen as equals and could not be considered to produce the same amount at the same quality as men were able to do. As the war was starting to come to an end with victory in sight many of the women, which were now in the work force, did not seem to get the appreciation they deserved for what they accomplished by filling in during a desperate time of need on a national scale. If it was not for them the war could have turned out to be a complete failure due to the lack of equipment, resources, and supplies that were being produced by women across the nation. After we won the war and the G.I.s were coming home many of the managers and owners of these factories and shipyards announced that the men would be given their jobs back and there were no spots for the women. The women were thrown back into their gender roles of becoming housewives once again as the men had the advantage in the work force. This did not stop most women because they now had the knowledge and skills to do other tasks such as weld, rivet, work assembly lines, and other useful skills. They could now fall back on something if they chose not to become the typical housewife which they were encouraged to become again from television commercials. Their was a television commercial which encouraged women to go back to their home lives which loosely stated “I’m glad to give up my job to the men and go back to my role.” This I believe was not true for the time because now women could find jobs and make

Morgan 3 their own money, giving them their own sense of independence and power. Now they had opportunities to become successful. Many of the women in the movie liked these changes because they felt as though they were gaining power and becoming appreciated more for what they were doing and contributing. This change was felt by mostly all of the women and they all felt the same discrimination, hardship, as well as pride during the entire process of women being admitted into America’s work force which was mostly male driven during the middle of the twentieth century.