Rosie the Riveter is the cultural symbol for the women who stepped up to do their part for the war effort. Please discuss the work that women did during World War II, including how the type of work they did was unlike traditional women’s work.

During World War II, women stepped into many jobs traditionally preserved for men. These included positions as welders, riveters, shipbuilders, assembly line workers, truck drivers, train drivers, tram drivers, and air raid wardens. These jobs often required more physical strength, more training, and more leadership ability than typical women's work of the time. Men were sometimes threatened by women entering "male" terrain.

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With so many men mobilized to fight in World War II, the US faced a labor shortage. This shortage was especially acute as factories geared up to manufacture war supplies, often on a twenty-four-hour-a-day basis. Women became more than a third of the domestic workforce during World War II. Many stepped into clerical or other office type positions.

Women, however, also stepped into to fill the gap in manual labor. They were hired for jobs traditionally reserved for men, such as welders or riveters working on assembly lines helping to build such war supplies as airplanes. In fact, by the war's end, sixty-five percent of workers in the aviation industry were women. Women also helped to build ships needed for the war effort and weapons such as guns and machine guns, also traditionally understood as men's fields. This work was non-traditional for women because it often meant working with heavy equipment and often required physical strength.

Women also worked driving fire trucks and acting as air raid wardens and evacuation officers. They also drove trams and trains, worked as train porters, and went into engineering positions. Entering these often skilled fields that required training—which the women got—created a sense of threat as "trespassing" on traditional male terrain. Some of these were leadership positions that were not seen as women's appropriate place in society.

It is worth noting that women also stepped into fill some white collar office jobs normally held by men, such as in the Department of State and the Office of War Information.

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