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Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

Home Front Contributions

The need for labor, food conservation, and a variety of volunteer efforts only increased with America's deepening involvement in the war. Women played a critical role on the home front whether working in factories, growing and harvesting crops in Victory gardens, or organizing knitting circles to provide socks for troops. The federal government harnessed state and municipal activism through women's organizations including the General Federation of Women's Clubs and the National Association of Colored Women. In many organizations, like the Red Cross and Committee on National Defense, a glass ceiling prevented women from holding the most influential positions. While a handful of states gave women the franchise, most did not. Despite these barriers and disappointments, women viewed the war as a chance to expand upon their rights thereby serving as the fulcrum upon which volunteerism functioned.