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Greater economic opportunity was one of the unintended side effects of American immersion into World War II. As the war continued, more men were needed to fight on the front lines, and this left factory jobs, for example, vacated. The need for those positions to be filled was of vital importance because war production required it. Women filled these jobs. It was one of the first times where women were able to establish economic independence and be encouraged for it. This was groundbreaking for a nation which only 20 years yearly granted women's suffrage and held that women were not the equal to men. For their part, women could engage in an act that would not only help out their nation, but bring them one step closer to being in the workplace and gaining financial freedom and economic independence.
The most famous way in which WWII affected the lives of American women was by changing the sorts of jobs that were open to them.
As so many American men went off to war, all sorts of jobs that had previously been held only be men were unfilled. Women started working in jobs like assembling airplanes and running power tools. They did things like flying airplanes from factories to where the Armed Forces needed them. Instead of being housewives and secretaries only, they started doing all these things.
Of course, women were also affected by having to deal with having husbands and sons off fighting and by having to cope with all the shortages and rationing that happened during the war.
Many women, like my grandmother and my wife's grandmother ended up moving around quite a bit to be near to where their husbands were stationed. My grandmother then took my mother (an infant) and went to live with her parents when my grandfather got shipped overseas...
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