In a previous blog, we covered the various roles women had during World War II. The war brought a change in the workforce for Americans. While young men left for the war, women, many of who were homemakers, took over the civilian jobs that were left behind. Women entering the workforce slowly created new opportunities that weren’t offered before, and while this made great strides towards equality in the professional world, it didn’t end there. The war also created military opportunities for women, and although they weren’t on the front lines, women held some of the most vital roles in the military during World War II.
By 1941, the United States Armed Forces had 350,000 women serving in various military branches. The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was one of the major military branches that recruited women to serve in World War II. Military jobs that were lined up for female soldiers varied from technical and mechanical positions to medical and administrative. One commonality of all the positions available for female soldiers was the fact that they were noncombatant; therefore, they did not require female soldiers to go into battle. However, it wasn’t uncommon for female soldiers to be stationed near combat areas, especially if they were nurses or assisting medical professionals.
In 1943 the WAAC transitioned to the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), officially ending its “auxiliary” status and taking another step towards equality in the military. WAC soldiers would finally receive the same pay, ranks, and benefits as their male counterparts, and as more men were needed on the front lines, female soldiers filled many of their duties and jobs. This became a great recruitment resource and was used in WAC recruitment films to entice women to enlist and serve in the war.
“It’s Your War Too” is a WAC recruitment film that highlights the importance of women in the military and the various roles they can participate in during their enlistment. The film further highlights the benefits of joining for women, including equal pay with their male counterparts, job training for the return to civilian living, and even the ability to style hair and wear makeup regularly.
World War II brought a change for not only the U.S military but also the role of women in the workforce, shaping the future of gender equality.