How did World War II change Americans' attitudes toward women and family?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Women did move from the kitchen to the workforce. With so many young men in the army, there were a lot of women left behind who were married without husbands or waiting to marry. In the meantime, all they had to do was make money. When the husbands returned, many did not want to leave the workforce.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The answer to this is subject to debate, but I would argue that the war did not really change attitudes towards women and family in any serious way.

During the war, women of course took on roles that had never been open to them.  The "Rosie the Riveter" women who went to work in defense factories are a very good example of this.  However, women did not continue to work in these new roles once the war was over.  Instead, there was a real return to a society in which women's place was in the home.  With the baby boom, women went right back to being wives and mothers.  In other words, the attitude was that women should center their lives around their families.

Eventually, this role changed.  Many women in the 1960s, of course, became unhappy with this role and pushed for more freedom and equality.  However, it is hard to connect this movement to World War II.  Instead, I would say that World War II had no impact on attitudes towards women and family.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Illustration of a paper plane soaring out of a book

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial