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Turning Point For African Americans

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Turning Point for African Americans

World War II was a major turning point in many ways in the United States. Some lost several family members because of the draft and was unhappy about the situation they were put in. But for the most part, the war brought on much excitement in the lives of the Americans because of the many new job openings and opportunities. The war brought on 17 million new job opportunities. The enthusiasm of the people was mainly brought on because of the long era of Depression and the war sparked the nation's economy. This period in time mainly brought on a whole new era for female's in the United States. Many people believed this time period acted as a watershed in the history of women in the United States and was a major turning point. In many ways this statement is very true because women did have several opportunities that would have never been possible without the war, but at the same time many historians believed that very little had changed and women still were treated unfairly. From either point of view, there are several reasonable ideas that support their opinions.

For women, the war brought on a new era in which women where not confined strictly to the chores of their own homes. Instead women were given the opportunity to expand their horizons and work in a greater variety of jobs. For example, in Faragher on page 752 he explains that the number of women automobile workers jumped from 29,000 to 200,000 and the women electrical workers from 100,000 to 374,000. This is one of the main reasons why this time period would be described as a turning point for women in the United States. When women got the taste of working and being able to make money and buy things on their own, they were reluctant to give up these rights. In Dellie Hahne's articles, "women said screw being dependent and helpless. 'Cause they had a taste of freedom, they had a taste of making their own money, a taste of spending their own money, making their own decisions." For many, this was just the opportunity they needed to get their foot in the door and prove that women were not just cooks and they had the ability to do anything a man could do. Many of their household jobs translated perfectly to the skills needed to produce in the industrial world. Housewives who once were sewing curtains for the kitchen were now producing silk that were used for the parachutes in the war. One newsreel explained, " Instead of cutting a cake, this woman cuts the pattern of aircraft parts. Instead of baking a cake, this woman is cooking gears to reduce the tension in the gears after use." In Dellie Hahne's article 6, she described the gratitude and sense of accomplishment the women had from working in the factories. She could not help to smile when hearing two women debate the best way to keep their drill sharp in the factory. Many advertisement were used to entice women into working in the factories. "Rosie the Riveter" appeared in posters and advertisements as the model female citizen who stayed working at her job even after the war ended. Many phrases used to convince women into the work place for example were, "take a job for you husband/son/brother" and to "keep the world safe for your children." One main reason the factored in was that the war dramatically altered the wage earning patterns of women. In the article, "Memories of War as Opportunity", the woman stated all she wanted to do is get in the factory, because they were paying more than what she was making. The factory job was paying double what she had made in a work week. She normally had made twenty dollars a week and now was bringing in forty dollars a week. "Faragher stated that the labor force grew by over fifty percent, reaching 19.5 million in 1945. The rate of growth proved especially high for white women over the age of thirty-five, and for the first time married women became the majority of female wage earners.

On the other hand, there were also many women who were very unhappy with what was going on. One example by Faragher that explains an unfair practice, is when the Department of War advised businesses to hold back from hiring women "until all available male labor in the area had first been employed." This angered many women and was just another example of proof that men were put ahead of women. None of the businesses rushed to recruit women to work for them until it was absolutely necessary and they had no other choice. Even when the women finally got the opportunity to work most companies most assumed it to be temporary only to help out her man. This example is portrayed



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