A History of Women in Defense Work During World War II

Dublin Core


A History of Women in Defense Work During World War II


Malkin, Rita F.




New York Institute of Technology


World War, 1939-1945--War work--United States
World War, 1939-1945--Women--United States






Thesis (M.S.)--New York Institute of Technology

Thesis Item Type Metadata


School of Management


Department of Labor and Industrial Relations


This study was undertaken to discover the forces during World War II that caused millions of women to take over jobs once held exclusively by men. These women, whether out of patriotism or the desire to emancipate themselves, proved once and for all that they were capable of doing almost any task a man could do and often do it better.
There were problems. Industry and government were slow in accepting the realities of the critical manpower shortage created by the war. However, once they realized that the only "manpower" available was "womanpower " an all- out recruiting effort was begun. The media played a vital role in getting women into the defense plants and convinced her that the training she would receive would serve her after the war.
Recruiting and training these women was an enormous task. Many organizations prepared women for their new role by placing them in intensive training programs before placing them on the assembly line. But that wasn’t quite enough, II Serious problems developed, Long hours, unequal pay and promotion, poor housing, and inadequate child care centers plagued many defense workers. None were solved for the duration of the war.
With peace, the promises of careers and continued employment evaporated. Business turned its back and returned to the old methods of discrimination. The media, once "Rosie's" best supporter, turned on her as well, telling the American public what they wanted to hear that "Rosie" wanted to return to her kitchen. It was an outright deception.
One can conclude from the research that, whatever the challenges were, whatever the promises made or broken, women proved once and for all that they were up to any challenge placed before them. They broke with tradition and established forever and new and more realistic image of the American woman.





Malkin, Rita F., “A History of Women in Defense Work During World War II,” Institutional Repository, accessed June 30, 2022, http://repository.nyitlibrary.org/items/show/2654.