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

Object | Accession Number: 2015.591.9

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    Brief Narrative
    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.)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection. The acquisition of this collection was made possible by the Crown Family.
    front, top left, printed, blue ink : Women / in the war
    front, bottom right, printed, white : WE CAN’T WIN / WITHOUT THEM
    front, bottom left, printed, black ink : WAR MANPOWER COMMISSION • WASHINGTON D.C.
    front, bottom center, printed, black ink : [star] U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1942—O- 477830
    front, within image, printed on casing, black ink : FLARE, AIRCRAFT, / PARACHUTE, M26 / [obscured] 22282-2 / [obscured] 42
    Publisher: United States War Manpower Commission
    Publisher: United States Government Printing Office

    Physical Details

    War propaganda
    Physical Description
    Lithographic poster printed on medium weight paper with a black and white photographic image of a female factory employee working on an aircraft flare. In her hands is a large, electric power tool, which she is using to secure the external casing. The woman has short dark hair and wears an apron over a white shirt. The flare has a large, cylindrical body with four large, angled, evenly spaced fins on the rear. A plate on the front of the casing has several lines of text and numbers printed in black. The woman and the casing are highlighted by a blue shadow against the plain white background and there are two lines of large blue text printed to the left. Below the image are two red banners with large white text. The publication information is printed along the bottom edge in small black text. The paper has minor yellowing along the edges, and three evenly spaced, vertical and horizontal creases. There are two small holes in the lower center and left of the paper where the vertical and horizontal creases meet. Faint, excess ghost images from improperly dried ink are present on the white paper. A large circle and square with text inside them have been drawn on the back.
    overall: Height: 40.000 inches (101.6 cm) | Width: 28.250 inches (71.755 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, pencil

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The poster was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2015.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-07-05 16:51:45
    This page:

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