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World War Two and Its Impact on the Role of American Women in Society Essay

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World War Two and Its Impact on the Role of American Women in Society

World War II is an event that has marked history like no other. Originating from a European struggle, war broke out in 1939 and continued for six years. From the years 1939 through 1945 more than half the earth's surface was battling in war. American society was greatly affected. People of every age, race and class were deeply affected. Women's place in society took a leap forward like it never had before. As an effect of the second world war women's traditional roles in society were drastically altered.

The 1940's brought innovative opportunities along with hardships to American society. After the Depression it looked as though there was no hope for the traditional role of women to be changing. Women had very few job opportunities, especially married women. In William Henry Chafe's book The American Woman, he explains:

Legislative bodies enacted laws restricting the employment of married women. Labor, government, and the mass media all joined in a campaign urging females to refrain from taking jobs. And the overwhelming majority of average citizens--including women--showed little interest in modifying the existing distribution of sexual roles. (Chafe 135)

The role of women in society was unchanging. It was quite remarkable how stable their role remained for so long (135). While still recovering from the Depression, Europe managed to mark the beginning of the biggest war in history. They first took over Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. And after Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese, the United States entered the war. The main transformation World War II made for women in American society was there were man...


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...o work, keeping the economy going while the men were fighting the war. Other women joined the army and navy out in combat. Organizations that are still present to this day were founded, such as the American Red Cross Association, the Women's Army Corps (WAC), the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), and the Army Nurse Corps. Overall, World War II changed the role of American women for the better. It marked the beginning of an ongoing advancement of women's economic position in American society.


Works Cited

Brokaw, Tom. The Greatest Generation. New York: Random House, 2004. Print.

Chafe, William H. The American Woman; Her Changing Social, Economic, and Political Roles, 1920-
1970. New York: Oxford UP, 1972. Print.

Daniel, Robert L. American Women in the 20th Century. The Festival of Life. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987.


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