Updated: Feb 10, 2022
The involvement of the United States joining World War II forced all Americans to serve and protect their country. Around 35,000 women served in the US Armed Forces. The Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) was formed in 1942 to train women to fly military aircraft so male pilots could go into combat. Around 1,100 women flew military aircraft. These pilots would fly B-26 and B-29 bombers across countries to military bases. These women even got to test new military aircraft’s ammunition ability by shooting targets. Not only did women fly in war materials for troops, but they also experienced the front line of the war front by caring for and aiding injured soldiers. The Red Cross Nurse Service enrolled over 200,000 people and certified half of them for military service based on their bravery and success on the war front. Nurses worked at all hours to rehabilitate troops. To aid the overworked nurses, volunteer women began transporting supplies, volunteers, and injured personnel to other hospitals. The Women’s Army Corps was created in 1943 and had over 35,000 women sign up. These women worked in multiple different positions varying from weather forecaster, telephone operator, and radio mechanics. Women’s job experience grew throughout the second world war allowing them to see work fields not typically performed by women. Women labor was in high demand while men were overseas. The introduction of Rosie the Riveter in 1942 inspired women to take part in the workforce. Women began working in defense factories making bullets, working on farms, driving streetcars, and even playing baseball. Between 1943-1945 the female percentage of the US workforce rose from nearly 27 percent to 37 percent. By the end of 1945, nearly 1 of every 4 married women had a job outside of the home. Some women did not have to work a factory job but got to be a professional athlete. The lack of men in America compelled the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Gum Company owner to create his own female baseball league in 1943 so Americans could continue watching their favorite pastime in wartime. Women were vital for success because of their performance in the war effort. Their work benefited all Americans at home and overseas.