During the late 1800s. Many advancements were made, which

During the period that stretched from pre-World War I to the end of World War II, American women became more involved in society, and engaged in new opportunities that were not available in the late 1800s. Many advancements were made, which provided a greater sense of worth for women in the United States. Although women were not perceived as equal to men by the end of World War II, women had made a great deal of progress to create a higher status for the community as shown through the group’s new job positions, war involvement, and social freedoms. The involvement of females in the workforce allowed for a new attitude among women throughout society, motivating women to do better work in hopes of creating better job opportunities for women. Before America engaged in World War I, a woman’s work was mainly at home, making family the main priority. If a woman did have a job, it was for very low wages, in dangerous factories in the textile industry. A woman’s second priority would be the farm. Most women kept gardens and studied medicine, allowing for jobs as nurses. Women were often referred to as “their husband’s better half” (Bryant OL), due to how women’s work was not worth much, especially since the main income of the home was brought by the husband. Therefore, any work done by a woman, was like almost free labor for the employer. When America became involved in World War I, most of the men were sent to fight in the war, opening up many new jobs for women to take over (for the duration of the war). These jobs included “work in transportation and construction as well as in war production… and replaced men as police officers, mechanics, train conductors and even barbers” (“Women During World War I.” OL). These new job positions allowed women to build skill level, which would translate to new job opportunities after the war. When the New Deal was set in place, the Works Project Administration in 1936 employed 460,000 women and improved the employment benefits for women (Woolner OL). During the Great Depression, while men’s employment declined, women’s employment increased, though they were not paid very well. Those who did not work during the depression, did “Outwork”, where they performed services such as laundry at home for others, for a fee. (“Women, Impact of the Great Depression on.” OL). When the country took part in World War II, once again, women replaced men at certain jobs. Women took positions as “taxi and streetcar drivers, operated heavy construction machinery, worked in lumber and steel mills, unloaded freight, built dirigibles, made munitions and much more” (Bryant OL). This allowed the women’s experiences and skills to increase once more, enabling women to be able to do a larger variety of work in the future. Before World War I, women had to focus on the needs of the household, and were not motivated to work outside the home. By the end of World War II, females had acquired many jobs in the workforce, contributing to the war effort and earning more money than before. As the two World Wars went on, women were able to engage in many parts of society that would not have been possible to take part in, if the men had not gone to fight for the country. Before the United States took part in World War I, “American nurses served in England, France, Serbia, Russia, and even Germany, a handful under the aegis of the American Red Cross” (Schneider OL). This was the first time that women were allowed to travel overseas to aid in the war effort. During World War I, women served in many important roles, especially since this was the first war in which a female could enlist in the US Navy or the Marines. Additionally, ” 21,498 U.S. Army nurses and 1,476 U.S. Navy nurses served in military hospitals in the United States and overseas” (“Women During World War I.” OL), which marked the first time females were allowed to perform active duty overseas. Women also did work such as cooking and washing the clothes for the soldiers. When the country fought in World War II, women were motivated to take part in the war effort due to some propaganda posters made specifically for women. One of the most popular ones was Rosie the Riveter, an image of a woman flexing her muscle with the phrase “We Can Do It!”. Moreover, women pilots were trained to fly planes to various military bases and became part of the Air Force. This allowed more women to contribute to the war and created a sense of strength and mobility (Bryant OL). The two wars marked an accomplishment for women, due to the larger roles women had in the war effort, and the contributions made by the women, to help win the wars. In the midst of the wars and working days, women were also presented with more social freedom than ever before. In the pre-World War I time period, women were restricted to either the home or the farm. As time progressed, women were able to leave the house more and venture out to do other tasks. In 1918, the 19th amendment was passed, which allowed women to vote. This was a major victory for women around the country, given unions and other women’s groups had been trying to make this legal for over a decade. Furthermore, by the end of World War I, the number of working women in the country increased by 25% (Alchin OL). More women were able to make money, thus, making women more independent. In the 1920s, women were able to learn to drive and many women also obtained college degrees. During the Roaring Twenties, women also began to express ideas more, challenging the traditional values and attitudes of the era. This was done by flappers, women who sported the bob haircut, wore shorter skirts, listened to jazz, and scandalized the older generation. (Alchin OL). Additionally, women began drinking and smoking in public, showing rebellious attitudes towards society’s expectations for women. The number of divorces in America doubled also, because it was made easier than it was in the past. This tore families and relationships apart, leaving women to be more independent. When the Great Depression struck in the 1930s, most women returned home and attempted to save as much money as possible by sewing clothes and canning fruits and vegetables. Financial insecurity also caused relationships to become strained. However, during World War II, as women left home once more due to the job opportunities, females became more socially active in society and worked hard to keep the new higher status. Compared to the pre-World War I era, where women we restricted to the house, more opportunities and advancements came to women that allowed females to vote, express values, and be part of a larger effort. Thus, women had gained a higher social status by the end of World War II, as well as a newfound sense of freedom and mobility. By working outside the home and becoming more independent, women’s equality had increased. Women were presented with new job opportunities, positions in the war effort, and social freedoms which were not available before World War I.

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