Women only played the role of a typical homemaker, before World War I. It was a set standard to judge them by their beauty rather than their ability. They were only typical homemakers, whose duties were cooking for family, caring for children, cleaning the house and sewing clothes for all family members…
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As far back as 1880, women had worked in textile and a few other industries but were kept away from heavy industries or those positions which involved real responsibility and power. These were the traditional roles they played from which they broke away just before the war started. Women replaced the men, when these men left their jobs to serve their country in war overseas. They filled many jobs which were brought into existence by wartime needs due to which the number of women employed increased greatly in many industries. In U.S, about eight million women had paid occupations before the war but after the war began, the number of women working increased in common lines of work as a newspaper stated, “There has been a sudden influx of women into such unusual occupations as bank clerks, ticket sellers, elevator operator, chauffeur, street car conductor, railroad trackwalker, section hand, locomotive wiper and oiler, locomotive dispatcher, block operator, draw bridge attendant, and employment in machine shops, steel mills, powder and ammunition factories, airplane works, boot blacking and farming.”(“Protecting the working mothers” Seattle Union Record) ...
) were very easy to find in all the newspapers ‘help wanted’ sections, which were a good evidence to prove that women of that time were willing to work at any cost, regardless of age or status, to help the nation win the war. 2. Increase in war emergency jobs There was high increase in jobs due to World War I as more and more men were leaving jobs to move to the front for the war, the industries had to look for female workers who could replace their men’s jobs. During 1917 and 1918, demands of female stenographers, telegraphers and phone operators were increasing rapidly. In the field of telegraphing, a newspaper wrote, “Women are more apt than men in this line of work.” (“Find women are apt” Seattle Post-Intelligencer.) The railroad companies also employed about hundred of capable woman operators, because not only were these woman known to be skillful but also dependable. There was an extreme high demand of female stenographers at one point of time too that almost two thirds of the total ads in newspaper were looking for stenographers, an example being, “Thoroughly competent book keeper, cashier, and stenographer, six years with last firm in charge of books and collections, desire position of responsibility.” (“Situation Wanted Ad” Seattle Post-Intelligencer). The women in that era wanted to take more responsible jobs did not wanted to be just a substitute labor force. 3. Military auxiliary jobs Nursing During World War 1, young women and girls worked as nurses. There was a high demand of nurses in the newspapers with headlines like, “Girl: 16 years, wants a position as a nurse.” (“Help Wanted Ads” Seattle Post-Intelligencer. June 16, 1917.) In April 1917, when United States entered World War I, the Navy had 160 nurses on
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