A month after the Pearl Harbor attack n 1941, 60 widows of the attack responded to job openings at aircraft plants, with the motto “keep ’em flying to avenge our husbands’ deaths,” and the face of the American workforce changed forever.
The female worker surged heavily. Many women joined the U.S. Naval Reserve, and others entered the metal, steel, shipbuilding, automobile, and aviation industries, greatly aiding the war and military effort for the first time in American history.
A recent article published a series of stunning photographs of the women who helped construct and design planes and machinery for the War. The beautiful photos were taken by Alfred T. Palmer and they reveal the important and fascinating work that they contributed.
Take a look below, and let us know your thoughts!
For the first time in American history, women began to take on roles that were traditionally given exclusively to men.
According to Life Magazine, “In 1941 only 1% of aviation employees were women, while this year they will comprise an estimated 65% of the total. Of the 16 million women now employed in the U.S., over a quarter are in war industries.”
American women were no longer “just” mothers, wives, and secretaries. They were now powerful engineers, builders, and technicians in steel mills, tank factories and, in particular, the aviation industry.
Women stepped up in great numbers, taking over strenuous, hazardous manual labor and handling complex, technical tasks.
A month after Pearl Harbor, 60 widows of the attack responded to job openings at aircraft plants in California, with the motto “keep ’em flying to avenge our husbands’ deaths.”
In several instances, these women proved that they could not only do the job as well as men, but that they could do it much better.
In addition to traditional administrative roles, women stepped in as laborers and engineers in steel mills, tank factories and, in particular, the aviation industry.
“In time of peace they may return once more to home and family, but they have proved that in time of crisis no job is too tough for American women,” the magazine wrote.
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