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World War II marked a retreat from the existing notions of womens capabilities and proper roles With the men gone at war women had to take over the work force Government propaganda encouraged women to do their patriotic duty by leaving their homes and entering the workplace At the wartime peak in July 1944 19 million women were employed This was an increase of 47 over the level in March of 1940 For the first time married women outnumbered single women in the work force Women over thirty-five made up 60 of the increase in the labor force Girls between 14 and 19 added another 173 to the total Anderson 4 Women took over the common jobs of building ships and planes becoming lumberjacks train conductors steelworkers and drill press operators Rappaport 224 Patriotism was only one of the many motivations for women to sign up for work Economic necessity the excitement and challenge of work the need to cope with the loneliness and anxiety caused by having their husbands and sons overseas a disaffection from housework a desire for more social independence the sense of purpose accompanying productive work and other such personal considerations complemented the desire to help in the war effort Seattle City bus driver Josephine Bucklin said We do feel were doing something concrete for the war effort Besides its thrilling work and exciting and something women have never been allowed to do beforeAnderson 26-28Not only did the war bring large numbers of newcomers to the labor force it also provided a wonderful opportunity for upward mobility for millions of women who had previous work experience The wartime system of labor priorities enabled women to escape the low-paying female - dominated fields of domestic and personal service Women could now obtain jobs in the burgeoning war industries or in the government Between 1940 and 1944 the number of women employed in manufacturing increased 141 percent while those in domestic service
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