History Homework

Women and Gender Roles during WWII

Women and Gender Roles during WWII

World War II was a six-year war that was characterized by all manner of severity ever witnessed in the world. In fact, the war had many significance roles, such as marks the European depression and American succession. The records document that more than fifty-five million people worldwide succumbed as the assault of this war. Indeed, the atrocities of World War II remain in hearts of many people until today in various parts of the world. For example, Japan was worst hit by atomic bomb resulting in the death of millions in Nagasaki and Hiroshima (Gosney and Claretha 93). Since then, the devastation of the nuclear radiation has troubled residents of the two towns and more so women.

The Second World War had impacts on the social life of various societies around the world. In fact, it affected a spectrum of social parameters such as gender, demographic, culture and economic. The war wasted a lot of money in purchasing and investing arms used on the battlefields. According to Goodwin (108), women played a very important role in the World War II. For instance, before the war, the roles of women were confined to their homes looking after their families. In addition, during this time very few women worked outside their household. Moreover, there was a negative attitude toward women who were worked in industries or any other sector. Men were the dominant gender and occupied almost all-important jobs in public and private sector. However, during the Second World War, the role of women in society changed tremendously due to increased demand for the workforce to work in manufacturing and processing industries (Goodwin 108). Thus, the number of women working outside their home increased exponentially causing a big variance in modern gender role.

            The number of women involved in military activities increased as many nations were in need of strong military personnel to enable them to counter the threat of other allied forces. As the result of World War II, more men were forced to enrol in militaries. However, the soldiers were killed in battles fighting against their rivals. In addition, most of this organisation required an alternative option to supplement their labour demand. As a result, women were recruited to work in different firms that had a deficiency of workers. Thus, a lot of women were enrolled in the military at this time to fight side by side with the male gender (Summerfield 74). This manifest an alteration in the role of women, which never existed before. Most of the changes that took place during the Second World War on the roles of women have not changed over a long period.

According to Joachim (187), Second World War marks the evolution of modern gender role since most of the changes experienced during this period were permanent. For instance, involving women in the military and working in the industries has diversified the character of women across society of the world. As a result, women were able to identify their potential due to their contribution in the Second World War. Additionally, after the end of the Second World War, women developed self-consciousness and promoted the ideas of transnational feminism movement. In fact, these movements encouraged women to participate in politics to fight for gender equality. Also, the movements rebuked social prejudice and discrimination against women (Joachim 187).

Many women for the first time started earning income in from 1939 changing their economic status and becoming financially independent. For instance, the Second World War changed the role of the western women from being home mothers to breadwinners of their families. Increased death that resulted from the war lead to many women being single and window with no one to look after them. As a result, many of them had to look for alternative source of income so that they could be able to cater for their families (Doepke, Moshe, and Yishay 653). Also, the sexual role of women changed as a result of the long period of war. For example, in America, the number of girls practising prostitution increased tremendously between 1940-1945. The prevalence of sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhoea and syphilis were high among the American women.

The Second World War crisis had varied influences on women that made them change their social role from being dependent to independent. Before the WWII, very few women were in economic activities that were earning them income. In fact, most of them were dependent on their husband’s income. Due to the increased demand for the arms in the world, most of the processing and manufacturing industries made contracts with governments to supply the military with ammunition and other equipment. There was urgent need of intensive labour to meet the demand for the arms needed during the time of the war. As a result, many women were integrated into manufacturing and processing industry due to increased demand for arms. The World War II made women to sacrifice themselves to ensure their country become victorious during the war; the women become patriotic to the laws of different states. The Second World War affected women in matters such as race, family relations, sex, and financial obligations among others. Termination of the Second World War marks a great dynamic on the role of gender and women seen over decades in various parts of the world.

Works Cited

Doepke, Matthias, Hazan, Moshe and Yishay D. Maoz. “The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis.” The Review of Economic Studies, 2015.

Goodwin, Doris Kearns. No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. Simon and Schuster, 2013.

Gosney, Matthew, and Claretha Hughes. World War II: The History of Human Resource Development. Palgrave Macmillan US, 2016, 89-101.

Joachim, Jutta. “23. NGOs, Feminist Activism, and Human Rights.” Handbook on Gender in World Politics, 2016, 187.

Summerfield, Penny. Women Workers in the Second World War: Production and Patriarchy in Conflict. Routledge, 2013.

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