Rosie the Riveter: Women Working During World War II
Employers praised them
In many cases, the men who worked with and employed women became aware of their skills. When women were accepted as fellow workers and treated like a worker and not just a woman, they performed the work very well. If women received the same training as men did, their work was equivalent to men’s and in some areas it was better (Campbell 134). Some employers stated that women were better at jobs that required great patience and accuracy.
Some further stated that women were proficient in precise and delicate work on small objects where manual dexterity and repetitive operations were involved. It was also said that they were very eager to learn and took their jobs more seriously than men. Women took great pride in their work and even if it took longer, they would do it better (Campbell 135). Women’s great job performance helped dispel ideas that women had very little mechanical adeptness, aptitude, and skill (Gregory 159).
Towards the end of the war, critics began assessing women’s performance. Some belittled women’s contributions to the war effort. Others said that women cared more about their looks than safety. Women sometimes ignored the rules about proper clothing, hair covering, and safety shoes so that about 10% of their accidents were the result of improper attire (Campbell 122). While women had fewer accidents than men did, they took more time off to recover.
The majority of writers assumed that women would want to leave their jobs when the men returned. These observers also thought that after having worked in factories, women would be better homemakers because they would understand why their husbands were so tired when they got home and the value of money having earned it themselves (Rupp 163). While employers praised their female employees, after the war these employers expected the women to return to the traditional female roles of pre-World War II.