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WW2 allowed and encouraged women to step up and take part in the fight. Women worked in all of the forces, including the army, navy, air force, coast guard, marines, and nurse corps however, most worked within the munitions industry. Many ambitious females took on traditional male roles, and worked jobs such as welders and lathe operators. During this time the female workforce went from 13 to 19 million. Figure 1A
Women Of WW2
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Many citizens of the United States were not content with the idea of women working in the military at the time. They faced much male resentment and hate strikes. Although working some of the same jobs as men, they were not rewarded with equal pay. To further discourage the use of female employment in the military during WW2, women with children often were provided with poor facilities.
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THE ARMY: The establishment of the WAAC- Women’s Army Auxiliary was set up in 1941. This allowed women to contribute to war effort directly by carrying out non-combat work and indirectly. Although women were taking more duty in the war effort, they were not regarded as high as men. WAC’s (Women’s Army Corps) were regularly accused of being promiscuous. This made joining the war effort very unappealing to many women. By 1945, 140,00 women were serving in the army.
THE NAVY: In 1942, women accepted for volunteer emergency service (WEAVES), a female only division of the US Navy. WEAVES could not serve aboard ships that went into combat and did not serve in any theaters of war. They were mostly involved in clerical, medical, communications, intelligence, and technical work. By 1945, approximately 100,000 women were serving in the navy.
THE AIR FORCE: The US army air force created Women's Flying Training Detachment to teach women to fly. Later, the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron to fly aircrafts within the USA was formed. Eventually both combined to form the Women Air force Service Pilots. By 1945, 1000 women served in the U.S air force.
ARMY NURSE CORPS: These women received little training and Served in theaters all over the world. Due to the importance of nurses in 1944, the army granted ORS nurses officers’ commissions, full retirement privileges, dependents allowances, and equal pay. By 1945, 74,000 women worked in the nurse corps.