Unit 5 World War II Assignment
SS360 – 01
Today is Monday and you would think that I would be happy that the war is over, but I’m nervous. I’ve really enjoyed being able to get out of the house and help provide for my family. During the war, I took a position in a local factory as a welder. It took a minute to get used to it, but I love working there. I met other women of color who use to be domestic housewives and we’ve gotten along really well. Now that the war is over, men are coming back home and we can only assume that we will be able to keep out jobs.
If I end up losing my job, I’ll have to find something else to do. I refuse to be stuck in this house again! I’ve heard about a group of colored women going into work one morning and when they arrived, they were all let go and given their last paychecks (Dubois, 2016). How horrible? I hope that doesn’t happen to me. Lord knows I have been through enough to get this job; I would hate to have to go through something like that.
This job wasn’t easy to learn, but I devoted longer hours after work than the others to learn this job. I wanted to show my boss that I could do the work and handle the workload. When I initially started, people were not happy that the company hired colored women to work, but they kept us in a separate area in the warehouse. We eat in separate locations and had separate break times to minimize the appearance of integration. All I can do now is hope that my work has spoken for itself.
Today is finally Friday and I need to blow off some steam this evening. Society still believes that women should remain in the household and not in the workforce. It’s not easy when you have to focus on keeping the house clean, raising kids and making sure that their schooling is done, and then to have food ready for your husband when he gets in from work. The burdens of being a working woman has been difficult when you have limited time to get your shopping done after work (Dubois, 2016). Thankfully, all of my kids are of school age and I don’t have to worry about putting them in child care. Some of the women on my job have to miss work or leave their kids with family or friends. They don’t trust the government day care centers since they claim that those programs were associated with the New Deal assistance and that they didn’t know the people who would be watching over their kids (Dubois, 2016).
If these companies could keep appliances stocked in the stores, it would make our lives a whole lot better. They claim that the home appliances that might have lightened our load were not being produced because factories and workers were needed for war production – though manufacturers continued advertising campaigns to keep up consumer desires (Dubois, 2016). You would think that this would motivate some companies to keep some of us women employed versus letting us go because men were returning back home. It seems to me that they care more about who they have working in their factories than meeting the demands of those of the home. MEN!!!!!!
Today is Sunday and the kids are outside playing with their friends. My husband went over to his brother’s house to help him with fixing a car. YES, I finally get some alone time!
I heard about a dinner at the White House with Eleanor Roosevelt. She has been very interested in what women have done for the betterment of our country, especially in the government. I heard that when she went to Washington, she was so impressed with the work women were doing that she started having parties for women executives in various departments (Dubois, 2016). It’s a shame that she saw for herself how much work they were doing while getting little recognition being that it’s still a man’s world (Dubois, 2016).
I admire Eleanor Roosevelt for speaking out for women and showing her appreciation for their hard work. Showing us women that we are appreciated for the work we put in outside of our families is so rewarding to hear about and witness. I’ve noticed that a lot of women were initially uneasy when the war ended, but some of them have been able to either keep their jobs, find something else to do, or accept the fact that they had to go back to being housewives. We all had a decision to make as it relates to our lives. It was a decision that was hard, but if we wanted to continue working, we had to bust our butts to find someone who would be willing to hire us. This was nothing new for us, we have been fighting for our rights for a while, but we just had to fight a bit harder this time to be able to continue to provide for our families. Maybe one day, we will no longer have to fight for our right to work and further provide for our families.
Comparing the experiences of women in the immediate post WWII era to that of my own experiences in the 21st century, what has not changed that I’ve noticed is that even though women are accepted into the workforce, but not in a variety of fields. I currently work in the construction industry and initially, there were some backlash for women working in this field. Some felt that a woman should be working in the office and not out in the field. They assumed that a woman would not want to get their hands dirty and be exposed to the elements. However, similar to the women in the post WWII era, women have fought for their right to be in the construction industry and proved people wrong countless times.
What I have noticed that has changed is that more and more women are entering the workforce while men are becoming more integrated with being a stay a home dad. In the years passed, men have always been looked to as being the bread winner of the family, yet times have changed to where women are being more and more competitive in the workforce and getting the higher paid positions within various corporations.
I would characterize the experiences of women in the years immediately following the end of WWII as a transition. A transition to a new level in women rights. A level that would begin to start seeing women as being more than just “domesticated” and whose sole responsibility is to tend to the house, the kids, and the husband. This transition would lead to a new way of thinking for men and how they view women in the future.
Dubois, E. C. & Dumenil, L. (2012). Through Women’s Eyes: An American History with Documents (Third edition). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins.