Post-War Concerns

Between 1940 and 1945, the percentage of women working increased tremendously by eight percent (from twenty-eight to thirty-six); however, within two years of the war ending, that figure drastically dropped by four.  Although women were paid significantly less than men in their manufacturing jobs during the war, the opportunity to work in a unionized factory produced higher pay than other jobs reserved for women, along with increased job security, seniority, and benefits.  These were jobs women wanted, and the increased job availability during the war brought an influx of women into the job market. 

"Your Job After the War," American Magazine Cover, November 1944

Even before the end of WWII, American Magazine released an edition with a cover that explicitly acknowledged the most prominent post-war concern: women's jobs.

The unfortunate fact of the matter was, though, that women war workers were the first to be laid off as the war came to a close.  In their few years of working at their jobs, they did not have the same job seniority that other men – and soldiers returning home – had.  A largely troublesome reason for this outcome was the image-making of women during the war; the image of “Rosie the Riveter” suggested that the increase in war work was mainly a response to women’s husbands and brothers being sent to the battlefield, and that their entry into the workforce was for them. This very tactic was the culprit to the abundance of women’s jobs lost post-war, and what the United States was overlooking during that time was the possibility that working women valued their money for themselves as a means for self-emancipation.  Because there were no organized feminist movements to take up this issue, the fight that demobilized women put up was never taken seriously.  Women were granted temporary acceptance when they were needed, but the needs of men eventually prevailed.