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Great Depression and World War II, 1929-1945
World War Two
We Can Do It - Women Defense Workers

During the war, the number of women workers in the United States grew from 14 million to 19 million. By war's end, women made up about 35 percent of the civilian labor force. Actively recruited by war industries, many women began working in jobs that had been previously closed to them. The following photos show women at work in some of the wartime industries. What kinds of work did women do in these industries? Why do you think these types of jobs were closed to women before the war? Why do you think the jobs were opened to women during the war?

Click on the photographs for larger images. View additional images from FSA/OWI Photographs, 1935-1945. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.


working on a dive bomber

Working On A...bomber, Nashville, Tennessee

Douglas Aircraft

Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, California

woman lathe operator

Woman Lathe Operator, Fort Worth, Texas

engine installation

Engine Installation, Long Beach, California


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Click on the photographs for larger images. View additional images from FSA/OWI Photographs, 1935-1945. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.