The Industrial Woman

Aluminum Demonstration & Inspection, 1943

Women who worked in aluminum mills during WWII were often designated the job of inspecting and testing the thickness of sheets with a gage test; this photo depicts an Alcoa woman doing so.

Among the abundance of roles that women were being asked to fill on the home front, the greatest demand resided in the workforce. The jobs that men had left behind in the manufacturing industry had to be filled, and women were called upon to fill them.  Not only were women needed in the commercial manufacturing plants that produced goods for the average American, they were especially needed in the war production plants – the plants created to produce wartime materials like plane parts, bullets, vehicles, etc.  Many women joined for the men and their homes; they weren’t receiving the same income any longer, and they had to ensure that their home and family were being taken care of.  There were as many women, however, who saw joining the manufacturing plants as a productive financial opportunity – they could finally leave their lower paying job for a higher income, more benefits, and more job security.  Women also began taking on the roles of men in the industrial workplace.  They were handling heavier machinery and working longer hours, quickly becoming an integral part in the war production era.  It quickly became known that production was essential to the war, and women were essential to production.