What Did Women Do in World War II?

Women did many things and took on many roles during World War II, chief among which was as workers and laborers. Up until this point, most jobs were reserved for men, but with the entrance of the United States into the war, men entered the military and created a shortage of labor that had to be filled.

According to the National Park Service, millions of women joined the workforce during World War II. Women worked in both manufacturing jobs in the war plants and in the service sector. The National World War II Museum Organization points out that women took on jobs that were traditionally held by men, such as money management, mechanical work and manufacturing.

Women also joined the military; a little more than a quarter of a million served in uniform. Women served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, the Army Nurses Corps, the Navy Women’s Reserve, the Navy Nurse Corps, the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve and the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots. Although these women did not necessarily fight in the front lines, they filled many important roles, such as office and clerical jobs, airplane repair and piloting, laboratory technician jobs, radio operations and nursing.