Women Factory Workers of WWII: Introduction

Prior to Pearl Harbor, as the Second World War raged in Europe, American manufacturing and industry expanded, producing arms and goods for our allies overseas, and keeping people employed at home. It was not unheard of for women to work in industrial plants at this time, but as clerks and secretarial staff, rarely on the production line. By using documents, photos and newsletters from the Museum's Consolidated/Convair Aircraft collection, we can see how women's roles in manufacturing changed from the beginning of the war to its end.

During the War, a 24-year-old artist named J. Howard Miller designed a poster for the Westinghouse Electric Co. to display in its Pennsylvania and Midwest plants for just two weeks. It was one in a series of posters and only 1800 copies were printed. But that image of “Rosie the Riveter” emblazoned with the phrase “We Can Do It!” started a nationwide recruitment of women to join in a united effort to produce the equipment, supplies and resources needed to combat the Axis enemies of our country.  San Diego based Consolidated aircraft was vital to the war effort, and as we will see, "Rosie the Riveter" was essential to this success.  

Next: Women Factory Workers Overview

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