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US war production poster depicting a female factory worker working on an aircraft flare

Object | Accession Number: 2015.591.9

American war production poster featuring a black and white photographic image of a female factory employee, printed in 1942. The image was meant to promote female participation in the workforce, particularly in manufacturing and blue-collar trades. Before World War II, women’s work was restricted to traditionally “feminine” professions such as typing or sewing, and they were expected to leave the workforce once they married or became pregnant. From 1940 to 1945, over sixteen million men joined the military, and the War Manpower Commission (WMC) was formed in 1942 to stabilize the American workforce. The WMC worked with Unions and employers to minimize turnover and allocate labor where it was most needed for war production. To accomplish this, the WMC and the government began recruiting women, and over five million entered the workforce. The majority of the women undertook the factory and office jobs that the men had vacated, though women earned less for their work. In 1942, the U.S. government established childcare facilities to enable more mothers to participate in the workforce. Even with these new opportunities, minority women struggled against the prejudice of the time to find jobs in certain industries. After the war, women were laid off in large numbers to make room for the return of men to the factories.

Artwork Title
Women in the war: We Can't Win Without Them
publication/distribution:  1942
publication: Washington (D.C.)
War propaganda
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection. The acquisition of this collection was made possible by the Crown Family.
Record last modified: 2022-08-02 07:20:34
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