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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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A Hotel Worker Requests Labor Laws for Women

In this letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, an aging Southern hotel worker describes long hours and hard working conditions. Advocating on behalf of women hotel laborers, she requests a six day, 48 hour work week, and an improved pension for older workers. [...]

"We Can Do It!"

Among the most famous images from the World War II era, the "We Can Do It!" poster of a determined working woman (colloquially dubbed "Rosie the Riveter") has been reproduced thousands of times since its original appearance in 1942. During the war, [...]

"Jenny on the Job Wears Styles Designed for Victory"

This World War II-era poster is from the "Jenny on the Job" series developed by the U.S. Public Health Service and aimed at women workers. The series offered safety tips and advice for thousands of women thrust into the workforce during World War [...]

"I'm Proud... My Husband Wants Me To Do My Part"

During World War II, the U.S. government produced a number of propaganda posters aimed at mobilizing women workers to contribute to the war effort, offering images that challenged traditional ideas about the role of women and the nature of their [...]

"Jenny on the Job Gets Her Beauty Sleep"

This World War II-era poster is from the "Jenny on the Job" series developed by the Office of War Information and aimed at women workers. The series offered safety tips and advice for thousands of women thrust into the industrial workforce during [...]

Occupational Shifts of Women in the Workforce by Race, 1910-1960

Between 1910 and 1960, the number of women working for wages in the United States grew from just over 8 million to over 23.2 million, rising from 21 percent to 32 percent of the workforce. The types of jobs that women of different races did also [...]

Table of Statistics on Women in the World War II Era Workforce

Before World War II (1941-1945), when women worked outside the home it was usually in jobs traditionally considered to be “women’s work.” These included teaching, domestic service, clerical work, nursing, and library science. [...]

"Operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville"

In this rare color photograph taken for the Office of War Information, a "real life" Rosie drills on the side of a dive bomber plane. Nearly three million women worked in defense industries during World War II, including thousands of African [...]

A War Worker Finds New Independence on the Job

When Los Angeles resident Beatrice Morales Clifton went to work at the Lockheed Aircraft plant in Burbank, California, she was a married mother of four children. In this excerpt from a longer interview, Morales Clifton, the daughter of Mexican [...]

Active Viewing Worksheets for The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter

This viewing guide and associated activities will help students analyze propaganda images of women workers during World War II and compare them with the real experiences of women. The instructions for using the film and viewing guide can be found [...]