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Why The 1940’s Saw A Sudden Rise In Female Workers


In the 21st century, it’s easy to see women in almost every sector of the economy. But this was not always so. In time past, society never believed that women should work in industries, and when they did, they usually worked on low paying ‘female jobs’. However, the 1940s saw a sudden rise in female workforce, especially in the United States. That period was the first time women worked in factories and were paid high wages like their male counterparts. But, this didn’t last. The sudden rise was to meet a need and as soon as that need was satisfied, women began to get laid off.

Curious to know what happened? The sudden rise in female workforce at that time was because of world war II. The war led to a mighty expansion of the war industry, consequently, there were more vacancies than the males could fill up. As a result of this, the government began encouraging women to get into the workforce. They facilitated this through a campaign led by a woman called Rosie the Riveter. The campaign was tagged ‘we can do it’. It wasn’t long after the campaign started that women began taking up positions in male dominated industries. It was crazy. Both educated and uneducated women were employed and taught how to operate machines or perform specified duties. Nearly everyone who wanted to work had the opportunity to. History has it that even married women and mothers of little children weren’t left out. (By the time the war ended, women were one-third of the entire workforce in USA).

As one would expect, some men weren’t willing to allow their wives to work, probably because they were afraid that some of those jobs were too dangerous, and there was the fear of sexual harassment. But, there was strict guidelines passed over to male bosses on how female workers ought to be dealt with, so the aforementioned problems weren’t as prevalent as they are today. The sad part is, after the war, most of the women were laid off. Those who didn’t lose their jobs were moved to lower positions where they were paid peanuts compared to what men were receiving. This state of work discrimination against women continued to the later part of the 19th century. It was in the 20th century that women began to rise in the business world. Today, there are probably about the same number of female CEOs as there are male CEOs.

There is no telling exactly what the future holds, but predictions can be made. Judging from the way the industrial world is moving, there may never be any time in future where women would be discriminated against. In fact, many studies show that the gig economy is becoming a better option among college students, which mean we would be having more of individuals working from the comfort of their homes than from the same corporate building. The result of this is that, issues like sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace would soon be forgotten.

What do you think?

Written by Clara Kendall


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