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Dora Miles and Dorothy Johnson
Women in Production

View more photographs of women working in factories




Women workers were regarded as particularly adept at working in small spaces and remaining focused while performing repetitive tasks. Women on the assembly lines produced aircraft, engines, tanks, and trucks at increasing rates of production without compromising safety.


To the right, Wong Ruth Mae Moy works on an aircraft engine part, March 1943.


Chinese woman in production

Below, part of the cowling for one of the motors of a B-25 bomber is assembled in the Inglewood, California, engine department of North American Aviation, Inc., October 1942.
B-25 bomber on assembly line in Inglewood, CA

Olive Ann Beech (right) managed Beech Aircraft’s wartime production, employing and training 14,000 workers who manufactured over 7400 military planes. Ninety percent of American pilots and navigators were trained on the popular Beechcraft Model 18.
Olive Ann Beech, manager of Beech Aircraft's wartime production
Rose Will Monroe (right) was a Kentucky teenager, widowed with two children, when she moved to Ypsilanti, Michigan to take a job at Ford Motor Company’s enormous Willow Run aircraft factory.  She became a riveter, playing the part of "Rosie the Riveter" in a government film promoting war bonds.
Rose Will Monroe, inspiration for "Rosie the Riveter"

Woman inspector checks electrical assemblies, Vega Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, California, June 1942
inspector checks electrical assemblies in Burbank, CA
Riveter at a Lockheed Martin assembly line

Women came from all over the country to work in the assembly lines of defense production plants that were converted or built to mass produce ever more sophisticated armaments.

To the left, a riveting machine operator at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant joins sections of wing ribs to reinforce the inner wing assemblies of B-17F heavy bombers in Long Beach, California.


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 Photo Credits (L to R): #1-2: The Library of Congress, #3: Wichita State University Libraries,
#4: Ford Motor Company, #5-6 The Library of Congress

(c) Copyright National Women's History Museum 2007