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During the period of World War II, women from different countries were forced to take on a range of roles (Our Mothers, 85). This war depicted a global conflict of the highest scale. Owing to this factor, there was an urgency of rallying the whole populace, a factor that led to the expansion of women’s roles. With the expansion of the available opportunities and poise, reinforced by the extensive skills that women possessed, their roles changed significantly (Our Mothers, 87). The women possessed skills from the salaried and voluntary employment that they engaged in during and after the First World War period. Because of this reason, women’s role in World War II intensified than in World War I, both at home and in war.

To start with, the government had significantly disheartened the women who enthusiastically showed their willingness to join the military service. Afterwards, it was an eminent that the period of the Second World War demanded more than the expectations of the government (Schrader, 187). Women could now comfortably perform technical jobs previously carried out by men. The government had to allow them undertake these tasks without resistance, to free the men who performed them for combat.

It became a reality that every division of the armed services created a supplementary corps’ unit for females. They were not combat forces because the government was still not fully convinced that women could perform combat activities. As the war progressed, the situation became desperate and thus, some women had to be assigned to serve overseas. They operated on observation posts, as drivers, radio operators, anti-craft gunners and mechanics.

At home, the situation was dissimilar. Because of the assumptions that existed prior to the war period, every woman who secured a job had to get it from a man who was leaving for war (Schrader, 187). With so many men away, this assumption was eliminated, and women could take any job including physical ones. They had to do so to maintain the economy of the country as the majority of men who were responsible for it were at war. Also, women took up the jobs in agricultural sectors. Some volunteer forces such as the AWLA (Australian Women’s Land Army) commanded women out of the cities to work on ranches and farms (Schrader, 187). Their work included: milking cows, gathering and cultivating. They became a vital component of ensuring a constant supply of enough food. Without their tireless efforts and hard work, the society would have starved, and men at war would lack enough supply of food. This would have led to a horrible situation of war aftermath.

At the end of the year 1945, over 2 million women had secured employment in the war activities, aircrafts’ repair, weaponry, ship building and vehicles (Our Mothers, 87). They also worked in factories, farms, drove trucks, provided support in logistics for soldiers, and were enrolled in professional zones of work. These zones were previously occupied by men and were strictly restricted for women. In other countries such as Australia, many thousands of females served as nurses on the front positions. Some other thousands served in the defensive reservists’ units at home. There was also a tremendous increase in the number of women serving in the military. In particular, women military served in “The Red Army” (Our Mothers, 87).

During this period in Britain, a propaganda that was directed to women was generated and communicated. The propaganda specifically targeted the housewives responsible for domestic roles (Kronk, 112). It directed them to bear a patriotic duty as a political role, in addition of taking care of the domestic role. This propaganda was specifically aimed at dealing with the struggles on personal and political roles of women so as to empower them intrinsically (Kronk, 115). Essentially, the propaganda enlightened women on their equal potential to that of their counterparts. They thus started to believe in themselves and got rid of the previous stereotyping beliefs.

The common role of women in the military service was operators of searchlights (Our Mothers, 84). This limitation notwithstanding, men troops apportioned the due respect on the female gunners. During this period, some reports were gathered on how excited men troops were because of the efforts that women troops exhibited, despite their limitations. Some of the mentioned limitations were: inadequate skills, their alleged physical weakness, disinterest in aircrafts, and emotional temperament. They were trained on how to handle rifles and were enlightened on the use of anti-aircraft weaponry, to complement their units.

Although they were offered weapons training, they did not engage in combat. Instead, they were told that the training was in case the Nazis invaded (Our Mothers, 85). This depicted how limited the roles of women were during this period. The limitation was caused by the selfish nature of men. Similarly, women were addressed with dissimilar titles than those of men in the army. Corporals were apportioned the name bombardiers, and the privates were given the name gunners (Schrader, 187). Their designations were worn differently from that of men on their uniforms. In terms of authority, they were under the leadership of their women counterparts.

Also, the women took the role of volunteer work. This was attributed to the fact that many of these women came from the backgrounds that were constrained. They viewed this as an opportunity to explore because they felt that they were liberated. This notwithstanding, the reason for joining army was to serve their country with patriotism. Some volunteered for WRNS, others for WAAF, others for ATS and other for women’s service (Our Mothers, 86).

In the forces, the other most significant role that women played was interpretation of photographs taken from the space (Our Mothers, 87). Equality was practiced in this field because it was a new one, and every gender was eager to explore. Women were also involved in planning for the hit day. They explored and interpreted photographs of the ports to be used during the attack. They also gave their suggestions on how best the hit could be perpetrated. Back home, women were receiving almost the same pay as their male counterparts (Schrader, 187). They tirelessly worked overtime as men did, although this differed with their household responsibilities.


In conclusion, during the World War II period, women had a vital role to play at home and in war. These roles ranged from seeking employment to grow their economy to join the military service. In the military service, their roles were vital and ranged from drivers, planners, gunners, nursing the casualties of war, and photograph interpreters (Schrader, 187). In some countries, propaganda were used to persuade them to volunteer their services (Kronk, 112). In this regard, their role and tireless contribution was vital and could be in no way be underestimated.


Works Cited

Kronk, Philip Charles. ‘Role of Women Psychologists during the Second World War’. Psychological Reports 45.1 (1979): 111-116. Web.

‘Our Mothers’ War: American Women at Home and At the Front during World War II’. Choice Reviews Online 42.02 (2004): 42-1160-42-1160. Web.

Schrader, Helena P. ‘Winged Auxiliaries: Women Pilots in the UK and US during World War Two’. J. Navigation 59.02 (2006): 187. Web.

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