partners exhibit heading

Dora Miles and Dorothy Johnson
Women in Production



Unmarried women also labored as telephone operators and in the electronics industry, then in its early stages. Women were thought to have superior manual dexterity and a greater tolerance for repetitive tasks than men.

Below, left: article, “Boom Town in Skirts,” by Don Eddy from The American Magazine, June 1944. Poster below, middle: "Women: There’s work to be done and a war to be won…Now!" by Vernon Grant for the Office of War Information, 1944. Poster below, right: "I’m proud…my husband wants me to do my part," by John Newton Howitt, 1944.

Boomtown in Skirts

There's work to be done and a war to be! poster
"I'm husband wants me to do my part" poster

Your Country Needs You Pamphlet

The war created job shortages of domestic household workers and service employees—the jobs that most women filled before the war. The U.S. Employment Service classified occupations in restaurants, hotels, laundries, and stores, as “essential civilian industries” because these services were needed to support war production workers.

Pamphlet to the left: "Your Country Needs You: Women Wanted for the Essential Civilian Industries," published by the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor 1943.

Housing shortages sometimes discouraged migration for jobs. Labor needs were met through patriotic appeals to women who already lived in the area. These appeals were designed to overcome prejudice against older women or women working after marriage. Some innovative employers offered health care insurance, cafeterias, and child care to attract married workers.

To the right, a pamphlet, "Boarding Homes for Women War Workers," Special Bulletin No. 11, January 1943, published by the Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor.

To the far right is an article entitled, "Grandma's drafted too!" by James Gordon from The American Magazine, June 1944

Boarding Homes Pamphlet Grandma's Drafted Too! article

Frances Perkins

During her 12 years as Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins oversaw fundamental changes in civilian employment. She contributed to the laws that revitalized the U.S. Employment Service, the Fair Labor Standards Act that set a floor under wages and a ceiling over hours, and the Wagner Act that protected workers' right to organize. She established the Labor Standards Bureau. She was also the principal architect of the Social Security Act.


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 Photo Credits (L to R): #1: The Women's Memorial, #2-3: Library of Congress,
#4-5: Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, #6: The Women's Memorial, #7: U.S. Department of Labor

(c) Copyright National Women's History Museum 2007