Effects of Second World War on Women

World War II had numerous and diverse impacts on the lives of women around the world. Some faced the same situations, owing to the commonalities of war. Others faced unique issues that led to unique changes in both their lives and their societies. Similarly, some of the effects of the changes that took place were short-lived, while others are still manifest. Finding out the effects demands consideration of these variations to ensure comprehensiveness. Research into World War II explains its negative and positive effects on women.

Research Question: How did World War II affect women?

  1. Negative Effects
  2. Imprisonment, torture, and sexual violence

Sexual violence was commonplace during World War II. Women in the war hot spots faced shameful sexual exploitation, owing to the state of lawlessness that characterized the period. According to Kuwert & Freyberger (2007), cases of rape instigated by soldiers were common during the war. Women underwent traumatizing sexual violence during the war, leading to more than 200,000 unplanned conceptions. SS soldiers belonging to the German government sexually violated Jewish and Russian women. Similarly, German women were raped by the Red Army. However, the former caused more cases of rape than the latter. They fronted several rape cases and repeated gang rapes in the areas they attacked amongst the Allied countries. The combined sexual violation activities of the soldiers led to many women’s death, both through murder and suicide. It was a traumatizing period for women as they lost both their physical and mental health under the soldiers’ uncouth actions and other people who took advantage of the war.

Evidence of sexual violence against women manifests in the post-traumatic stress disorder highlighted in the studies conducted six decades after World War II. More depressing were the reports highlighted regarding the unspoken cases of sexual violence that happened during the war. There are hardly any reports explaining the cases of sexual violation, despite being rampant during the war. To a large extent, this gap is associated with the taboos in most societies that prohibit speaking out about rape and other similar issues of sexual violence. The unavailability of witnesses also minimizes the chances of finding out about the cases of rape. However, it does not disqualify the presence of rape cases during the war. An estimated 1.4 to 1.9 million women may have been raped by the end of the deadly war (Kuwert & Freyberger, 2007). Similar cases occurred in other war hotpots during the period. Soldiers are the major villains who sexually violated women, especially upon conquest.

Amongst the worst times for women in human history was the Holocaust. Women faced the worst kinds of human torture under the Nazis. Amongst the main ones were rape and being presented as sexual objects to German men. Women, including underage girls, were imprisoned and presented to German soldiers as sexual gifts. The largest number of them was from the Jewish communities in the wake of the Holocaust. The women were presented in brothels, most of which were run by the German army. About 500 brothels were established in concentration and labor camps (US Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2021). Subjecting women to sexual assault and prostitution often caused pregnancies. Pregnancy was an unfortunate event for them since it meant that one would have to face the horrors of forced abortion. It was especially worse for the Jewish women since they were not considered fit to give birth to more people who were not eligible for Germanization. The availability of makeshift maternities with horrible conditions also guaranteed the death of the children they bore. Such sex-related horrors in Germany and other war-torn areas destroyed the welfare of women in their respective societies.

Women in Japan were also subjected to the horrors of sexual violence. Japanese soldiers got the chance to incarcerate hundreds of women after the Allied forces’ surrender. Female prisoners of war were repeatedly raped by the soldiers. Sexual abuse was commonplace as the soldiers took turns to rape the female prisoners of war. They were exposed to sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis. Others were forcibly raped to get pregnant for the sake of tests. The soldiers used the infected and pregnant women to find out the possibility of infection with syphilis from a mother to a child. The women were used as lab rats in the study of stages of syphilis. They were forced to copulate with their male counterparts who were infected with the disease to get infected. After that, they would be monitored by researchers and vivisected at various stages of the illness. Worse still, their children were also used for experiments immediately after birth and killed after serving the intended purpose in the researches. These and other sexually related issues affected both the female prisoners of war’s mental and physical health.

The use of women as lab specimens was an inhumane act to them. The Axis powers downgraded women, especially the prisoners of war.  They used them for sexual and non-sexual experiments. For example, Japanese soldiers used live female prisoners to test human beings’ limits in frostbite experiments. The women were subjected to extreme temperatures on some parts of their bodies, especially the fingers. As a result, their fingers fell off, and they ended up with other related disabilities. In other cases, women’s whole bodies were subjected to extreme temperatures and pressure until their eyes popped out. Others were exposed to x-rays that resulted in their eventual deaths. These and other inhumane experiments led to painful deaths amongst the women. They were among the main terrors that the war bestowed upon women. Most of the terrors bestowed on women were instigated by Unit 731. The chemical and biological warfare research unit used torturous methods. They are considered amongst the people who caused the most damage to women during the Second World War.

Internment was also part of the widespread challenges facing women during the Second World War. Women, alongside men, suffered the challenge of internment in different places and for different reasons. One of the most infamous of them was Japanese American residents’ internment soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Both men and women were interned without consideration for their citizenship status. During the internment period, they were forced to work on the production of agricultural products to support the war efforts. A photo of women working at an agricultural packing shed is evidence of Japanese women’s plight as they underwent imprisonment and forced labor (Digital Public Library of America, 2021). They were both prisoners and slaves of the US who were being punished for a crime they were not particularly culpable. The Japanese citizens’ arbitrary arrest was due to the extension of the Second World War to Asian countries.

Women were also held captive in other places by the victorious soldiers. In some places, some prisons were specifically set up for the incarceration of female prisoners. For example, Ravensbrück prison was opened in 1939 specifically for female prisoners (US Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2021).  It was the largest amongst the prisons established by the Nazis, with a population of over 100,000 female internees. There were several others that the Nazis established to persecute Jewish, Gypsy, Polish, and disabled women. The SS authorities continued establishing prisons for women throughout the war. For example, in 1942, the SS established Auschwitz-Birkenau, a compound where female inmates were imprisoned. The limitation of freedom of movement for the ladies was a violation of their rights as human beings.  It affected their welfare in that it separated them from their families and societies, yet they were not necessarily guilty of any offense.

The imprisonment of women by the SS authority was characterized by brutality and mass killing. The perpetrators did not consider any factors, including the prisoners’ ages, when executing their brutal plots. For example, children who were too young to work were killed in gas chambers (US Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2021). It was especially worse for Orthodox Jewish women and children since they were targeted for death by the Nazi regime. A majority of them were slaughtered, and others offered the chance to die through euthanasia. Other women in Germany also faced similar brutality during the regime. Due to the harsh conditions to which they were subjected under forced labor and imprisonment, they died in agony. The negative perception of women by the SS made women in Germany suffer a lot in the long period that the war lasted. The war and its instigators caused horrors to women. Other ways in which they tortured women included forced abortions and physical assault, amongst others.

Similar to Germany, women in other Axis powers suffered arbitrary arrest and torture. In Japan, hundreds of women were interned under the Japanese Empire. They were tortured in several ways. Together with men, they were forced to provide labor. The prisoners of war were subjected to unbearable working conditions. Hundreds of them died under the harsh conditions to which they were subjected. They were expected to do hard work for long hours while being offered provisions that were by far below what they needed to survive. An example of such times was during the construction of a military airfield at Sandakan. The Japanese Imperial Army, popularly known as the Kempei Tai, forced hundreds of prisoners to provide arduous labor. The prisoners of war were expected to work while hungry. As a result, most people fell ill and emaciated.

Female prisoners of war faced unbearable torture after asking for better conditions. Their plea for more food rations and better healthcare was responded to by inhumane torture. For example, they were forced to drink filthy water. Punishments also included being subjected to physical torture, such as scorching wounds with a cigarette, driving tacks under nails, and thorough caning. The torturous experiences that the prisoners of war underwent while providing labor often ended in death. The Japanese army sought to torture them to death to eliminate chances of rescue. The construction went on without considering any of their wants, such as sanitary needs. The ones who collapsed in the line of duty were immediately slain. The murders were especially increased when the Japanese learned that they were losing in the war. Some prisoners tried to minimize their chances of death by escaping. However, most of them were unsuccessful in the venture and ended up being captured and killed. The ones left behind were also tortured further for letting them escape. Hundreds of women died in the unfortunate events.

The prisoners of war were also subjected to long-distance treks with minimal provisions. Both Americans and Filipino prisoners died due to the inadequacy of water and food while marching. An example of such horrifying marches was the Sandakan Death March. It consisted of the prisoners selected to work as porters to carry supplies for the army battalions located in northern Borneo. During the march, the Japanese Imperial Army reduced food rations and minimized medical care for the sake of the military officers. More men and women died during the trek. An increase in the number of women who died during the march means a high number of them died as prisoners during World War II. The imprisonment, torture, and killing of female prisoners of war negatively affected women’s experiences during the fatal war.

The overall effects of sexual violence, incarceration, and torture were negative to women’s physical and psychological health. According to Kuwert et al. (2014), the women who survived the ordeals, both sexual and non-sexual, suffered post-traumatic stress disorder both in the short and long term. During the war, the women who experienced sexual assault suffered from the disorder, with a large part of society acknowledging them as survivors of trauma.  On the contrary, those who did not suffer sexual abuse underwent trauma, but society did not acknowledge them as survivors of the same. For this reason, the latter group did not receive the appreciation they deserved after the end of the war, further escalating the effects of the psychological disorder on their lives. The effects were largely negative in the emotional and social aspects. From the physical perspective, the survivors of both sexual and non-sexual violence suffered in numerous and diverse ways. Amongst the main ways was the development of severe sexual problems. Others suffered according to the body parts that were targeted during the torture—for example, amputation of legs and hands after excessive breakage or infection.

  • Effect on social and emotional aspects

During the war, women suffered the loss of family members. Most women were left at home while their husbands and eligible sons went to war. There was hardly any guarantee that the persons who departed would ever come back to them. Most of the soldiers, especially the Soviets, died at the war front. A large number of women were left without sons and husbands. They are the lot who suffered most from the grief associated with the loss of family members since they were the least involved in the direct enemy confrontation. Worse still, a large number of women suffered the loss of children during the war. The majority of the people who were most affected by the war were civilians. They suffered in both the aspects of death and displacement. For example, an excerpt from a pamphlet called ‘Women Come to the Front: Journalists, Photographers, and Broadcasters During World War II‘ explain that the streets of Europe were flooded with homeless children (Digital Public Library of America, 2021). The war separated them from their mothers. Worse still, others died from war ammunition, leaving their mothers in grief.

Another effect on the young women and girls was the loss of parents and separation from family. The Second World War is associated with many people’s death, a majority of whom were parents. Both men and women died amid the war, leaving children at the mercy of nature. Of particular interest is the parents’ loss to the young girls who were still dependent on their parents. At the time, jobs were strictly for the people who had attained the age of majority. For this reason, children had nowhere else to find homage beyond the care of their parents. Parents and guardians’ death spelled disaster for the children who could neither secure jobs nor afford any form of livelihood in a war-torn world. In most cases, young women and girls were the most vulnerable, owing to the threats of violence and rape. Lacking people to take care of them, both in basic needs and safety, was disastrous.

  • Effects observed at the workplace

At work, the jobs that women got were both hard and cruel to them. The jobs degraded women and made them feel unhappy about the conditions under which they were surviving and working. Mirroring the majorly patriarchal society, the jobs that were availed to women matched men’s work but not their pay. At the workplace, women faced massive discrimination. According to Jowarski (2014), jobs that were previously restricted to men were availed to women, owing to men’s departure in service to their respective countries. Women’s experiences at the previously male-dominated workplaces were not the most pleasant. They faced discrimination due to the classification of the jobs as too masculine to perform by women. The derogatory remarks and other forms of gender stereotyping that they faced led to the belief that the jobs were hard and mean. For this reason, the lady who wrote the letter compared her job to that with the only viable comparison being that of sailors’ hard work. She, amongst others, felt that the jobs were mean to them, above being tedious.

The empowerment of women to provide labor in heavy industries was challenged by several other hardships. Amongst the main challenges was the separation in wages between men and women. The women who offered labor in the heavy industries faced underpayment when compared with their male counterparts. As informed by society, business owners took time to adjust to the fact that women could offer labor as properly as men did in the various vacancies left by men. For this reason, women faced the challenge of struggling against the societal setup that existed at the time. They had to devise methods of seeking more equitable wages, such as forming trade unions. The transition of women from domestic beings to working persons also aroused a sense of trouble in society. It was a novice issue to see women taking part in activities that paid them. They were forced to expend more energy fighting the societal belief that they were a threat to society’s patriarchal orientation. Although positive, women’s recruitment to various job positions created by the war created new challenges for women.

  • Increased hardships at home

The departure of men to the battlefields increased the challenges women faced in taking care of their families. According to Jaworski (2014), World War II marked a period when women had to face the challenges of sustaining their families alone. Their husbands and grown-up sons were asked to join the military in service to their country. For this reason, women faced an assortment of challenges handling family issues alone. Evidence from a woman’s letter to her husband shows that she was undergoing a period of hardships in his absence. In the letter, Beth Puckett explained to her husband, Lewis Puckett, that she was finding it hard to juggle between work and domestic roles (Digital Public Library of America, 2021). She was concerned that she could not get the time to clean their house. It was a shocker for her to find dirt on the house windows for the first time since she did not have enough time to clean them.

The letter depicts the extent of the effect that the Second World War push had on women’s work-life balance. In the letter, the lady explained that she lacked time to handle her chores, owing to the challenge of time inadequacy. She indicated that, on that day, she had just returned home in the evening, too exhausted to handle any other work. She was taking time to rest for a limited period before time for supper and bed. The seemingly honest explanation of her situation depicts women’s challenges who had been left to handle all the activities without assistance. Her husband’s absence meant that she had to work, regardless of the job’s difficulty, and take care of their home. The inadequacy of time to handle both meant that the war had affected her work-life balance. Menial jobs also left women exhausted to the extent that they could hardly make any significant contribution to their other lifestyle activities.

The absence of men forced women to work more for the sake of their families. The departure of husbands, who were previously the main breadwinners, meant that women had to step up to the role for their families sake. The circumstances demanded that they should assume the roles of both husband and wife in the family. However, they were not yet used to double roles since society was highly stratified on the kind of jobs that each gender should perform. As indicated in the letter, the lady was dissatisfied with her work. It was exhausting and time-consuming. Her position suggests that several other women were facing the same fate. They were working in jobs that did not necessarily match their skillsets and desires. This depiction shows that World War II forced women to work in undesirable jobs to meet their needs and those of their families in the absence of their husbands.

  • Effects of the war on young women and girls

From another perspective, girls suffered societal pressures that pressed them into early marriages. Men’s need to leave for the war-torn areas and defend their countries necessitated the normalization of early marriages. Women as young as teenagers were forces into early marriages to maximize chances of societal continuity. A significant percentage of the young men were required to join the army for their respective countries’ welfare. Joining the defense forces meant that there was no surety of return. For this reason, the young women who were eligible for marriage, including teenagers, succumbed to the pressure of early marriage in pursuit of families. The normalization of teenage marriages, conception, and other similar torturous norms was a foul play for the young girls.

The course of education of young women and teenagers was affected significantly. According to Jowarski (2014), World War II stopped schooling at the high school and college levels. The course of education was curtailed by the presence of conflicts in some places. Schools were among the places that were vandalized due to the use of heavy artillery. In other regions, the war reduced family income, owing to the closure of businesses. The parents and guardians who offered financial and other support to the school-age females in the 1940s earned less, while some lost their jobs.  The reduction in disposable income meant that the girls and young women could not attend school anymore. The available resources were reserved to ensure survival amid conflicts and other major challenges. Directing the resources to other areas other than female education minimized the girls’ ability to make deliberate choices in their education.

The graduation rates of females from colleges and other learning institutions reduced significantly in the course of the war. According to Jowarski (2014), the number of females who graduated from college upon the war’s onset was significantly less than that of their male counterparts. Among the main reasons for the reduction in percentages of graduating females was the choice to pursue family life instead of getting an education first. The war altered the decision-making process on family matters for most girls and women. They sought the safety of completing all life stages amid the ongoing recruitment of young men into the army. Another causative factor was the availability of job opportunities for women. The economic pressures that affected families’ welfare in the 1940s led them to search for job opportunities to supplement the family income. The availability of jobs in the vacancies left by the men who joined the army led to the preference for jobs instead of schooling. A significant percentage of college-going females sought job opportunities as opposed to taking long-term courses. The availability of the trade-off opportunity led to the reduced affinity for education as opposed to paid jobs. It lowered the education levels amongst females compared to the levels of education amongst males in the affected communities.

Women rose above the challenges they faced upon the departure of their husbands to war hotspots. They did so in their quest to overcome the issues that they had been facing at home. They also needed to fill the gap left by their husbands, who were soldiers, both dead and alive. A photograph of women knitting and sewing in the 1940s is evidence of women’s commitment to working for wages (Digital Public Library of America, 2021).  The increase in domestic hardships in various households was the main driver of the search for jobs. Women sought to push themselves to overcome the challenges that their families underwent in the war. They gained strength against the adversities they faced and stepped up to both the roles of men and women in both family and community. The incidence and impact of World War II led women to realize that they had the power and ability to do better than they had been doing in society. It helped them push themselves beyond the existing stereotypes that demeaned them in matters of ability and performance in handling various activities demanded by society.  It also led them to realize that they could handle challenges that they were previously thought to be too weak to handle. It was an eye-opening experience that overturned both society’s beliefs about women and the thoughts that women had about themselves.

Before the war, women were being forced to conform to social and cultural norms and beliefs. World War II incidence led to the change in ideas about gender, especially on how women should look and behave (Strong & Weiss, 2017). Before and at the beginning of the war, women were depicted as supporters. They assisted the men who went to war. They were the subordinates in home affairs who were charged with taking care of the family and home in support of the men who would take the challenge of going to the war hotspots. Women were expected to stay at home to take care of the children and conserve resources in preparation for the harsh economic times that were expected to occur in the course of the war. However, the onset of the war overturned this mentality. The practical changes that took place were different, in many ways, from the theoretical and expected changes.

The changes guided society towards a more open-minded reality. They created a new set of rules and norms that included women as equal members of society. One of the main observable changes was the switch from the private to public personalities (Froula, 2009). The war necessitated the advancement of women from being the secret species that hardly participated in matters affecting society to persons who took the initiative in the public’s full glare. Women started being the persons leading society by presenting themselves in the public space. Their gender roles advanced from being confined within the private space to incorporating the previously male-dominated public sphere. It was in the spirit of this transformation that about 6 million women entered the job market. Between 1942 and 1945, this overwhelmingly large number of women in the United States sought jobs. It embarked on activities that would improve their families’ financial welfare, both for survival and to thrive.

Overwhelming evidence backs the possibility of women taking center stage in leading the economies of various countries. In her interview, Pearl James Hill explained her involvement in several jobs since the age of 16 years (Digital Public Library of America, 2021). While narrating the sad story, the World War II survivor explains how she survived without her parents’ care by working in both governmental and non-governmental setups. Her money-making ventures exemplify women’s experiences, both underage and mature, amid the devastating effects of the global conflict. It explains the women’s abilities to embark on deliberate actions to cater to the financial needs of both their families and themselves amid unprecedented challenges. For example, Pearl James Hill’s engagement as a ship welder enabled her to make enough money to cater for herself and her younger brother, whom she had to cater for despite her young age. It explains women’s actions in supporting the economies of their countries as men fought in the war.

The stories of women in their quest to ensure their welfare explain society’s changes during the overwhelming period. Their duty and love for their countries ignited their will to participate in their communities and respective countries’ affairs. One of the main areas in which women were involved in the community’s affairs was participating in the defense activities (Froula, 2009). Several women participated both directly and indirectly in assisting the defense activities of their countries. Amongst the activities was assisting in the production of ammunition. Pearl James Hill explained that the government had employed her to produce grenades in her interview. Despite the risks involved, the lady took the job of making the weapons. The need to take care of her livelihood and the welfare of her country, the United States, inspired her decision. Taking part in such activity of national interest exemplified the commitment women had in assisting their countries during the war. It was a show of shift from being the domestic species to people who contributed t the welfare of their countries like their male counterparts.

The incidence of the war led to increased patriotism amongst women. Women, like men, felt the need to support their countries in winning the war. Unlike popular opinion, they were also part and puzzle of their countries in fighting in the war. The participation of women in their countries’ defense increased their sense of patriotism (Strong & Weiss, 2017). Previously, women were barely involved in participating in matters of the country. They rarely had the opportunity to participate in nation-building. However, the onset of the war created several niches for them to participate in nation-building. It created opportunities for them to make meaningful contributions to their countries in various and numerous sectors. The chance to produce war artillery, for example, led to the development of a sense of belonging and contribution to the country. It created an aura of appreciation for being citizens of their countries. For example, women in the US started feeling proud of their jobs as the people who led to the country’s victory. It was an exhilarating experience for them to be part of the victory as opposed to being bystanders.

The war also inspired patriotism by triggering the will of women to participate in active combat. Approximately 350,000 US women served as soldiers in uniform, both abroad and locally. They joined the Navy Women’s Reserve (WAVES), the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARS), the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS), and the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs), amongst other military battalions (The National WWII Museum, 2021). The female soldiers played crucial roles in the army, thereby assisting a lot in pushing the armies towards victory. For example, some handled clerical work while others repaired aircraft, analyzed photos, and operated radios. Some served as nurses in the frontline. Several of them who served in the Army Nurse Corps died in their line of duty, similar to men. The army consisting of men could not perform optimally without the assistance of the uniformed women. The willingness and ability of women to participate as uniformed soldiers raised their sense of importance in society. People started treating them as respectable members of the community.

With patriotism came the massive empowerment of women. Women underwent a massive transformation during the Second World War due to the intensive empowerment to which they were subjected. They easily transformed from the previously inert and hardly productive members of society to be among the best contributors through the encouragement and support they received from various sources.  Amongst the main sources of empowerment was the group of women who encouraged women to join the industrial labor force.  This group of influential women asked their fellow women to take part in various industrial activities because they were well-framed to do so. ‘Rosie the Riveter,’ for example, was among the icons who encouraged others to be strong in their service to the country (Santana, 2016). She portrayed the figure of a woman who was ready to work with all the necessary confidence needed to pursue all the tasks presented to her. Her depiction encouraged many women, both married and single, to be part of the workforce during the war to replace the men who participated in active combat by filling the gaps they had left in various industries.  The presence of such sources of encouragement helped empower females to participate as part of the active workforce.

The empowerment of women led to their employment in areas previously dominated by men. Most of the vacancies left by the men who joined the army were considered masculine in most societies. A poster explaining the need for women to fill the gap left in the war industry’s production lines depicted the transition of women’s occupation from the simple work of making watch cases to working in the heavy war industry (Digital Public Library of America, 2021). It showed the need for change that women were undergoing in embracing menial tasks instead of traditional simple tasks. According to Goldin & Olivetti (2013), women in the upper half of the education distribution offered significantly large labor. Their willingness to embark on heavy tasks describes the change in thoughts about the type of work women could do and what they could not.

  • Effect on Women’s Fashion

World War II marked a period of revolutionary transformation for women’s fashion. According to Buckland (2000), the period was characterized by the use of fashion advertisements to attract women to work. Retailers in places such as Ohio used fashion to entice women to provide labor in the industries. Among the new aspects of fashion introduced during the period were wearing pants while going to their respective workplaces. The introduction of pants was also necessitated by the nature of the work that they performed. For example, working in heavy industries demanded that they should dress in a way that would assist them in performing optimally. The dress code change from skirts to trousers also affected the societal view of femininity and gender roles. People started viewing fashion as part of femininity. As a result, more fashion developed during and after the war. For this reason, World War II is considered among the major triggers of the fashion revolution for women, especially in the US.

From another perspective, women experienced gradual changes in fashion as designers sought to match the mood of the period. Several designs emerged to match different aspects of the war. Amongst them were clothes that showed a sense of patriotism. Designers produced clothes that rhymed with country’s themes. For example, American designers made clothes that rhymed with colors on the American culture as a show of patriotism. The American red crepe dress, for example, used to decorative sleeves that reflected the American culture. With time, designers changed and improved the designs according to the themes of the period. This development in designs improved women’s fashion during and after the war.

Conclusion

The lives of women in both the Axis and Allied nations underwent significant changes during World War II. Several primary sources explain the different and numerous effects it had on women who experienced it and changes in societies where the events took place. The war had several devastating effects that resulted in struggles and deaths of many women. It affected both their mental and physical welfare and resulted in many deaths. However, the war also had a few positive effects that assisted the survivors in various ways. Like in other wars, the negative effects of World War II on women outweigh its benefits.

 

Annotated Bibliography: Effects of Second World War on Women

Kuwert, P., & Freyberger, H. J. (2007). The unspoken Secret: Sexual violence in World War II. International Psychogeriatrics19(4), 782–784. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1041610207005376

This scholarly article explains the traumatic experiences that women underwent during World War II. It highlights women’s plight in the conflict zones regarding both sexual violence and the non-sexual trauma they had to endure. It posits a lot of lawlessness during the period, as governments concentrated on the war as opposed to control of the actions of various persons in society, especially soldiers. The resource is relevant to the research on the effects of the war on women in that it highlights an issue that affected them but is rarely if ever, explored. It offers a meaningful addition to the research by exploring an important but largely neglected area of research. The resource supports other researches that explain sexual violence that women have to endure during war. The use of a wide range of resources to inform the research makes it worth being used in the study since it includes information blended from different rich sources.

Froula, A. (2009). Free a man to fight: the figure of the female soldier in World War II popular culture. Journal of War & Culture Studies2(2), 153–165. https://doi.org/10.1386/jwcs.2.2.153_1

This resource explains the nation’s forgetfulness in the matter of women participating as frontline soldiers during World War II. It seeks to expound on the contribution of popular culture in discarding women’s role in the deadliest war in human history as part of the military. The resource is relevant to the study of the effects of the war on women. It offers information on the change that took place during the war. The war triggered women’s participation as soldiers, a matter that was previously unheard of before the war. Doing so offers meaningful information on the change that the war brought on the roles of women in society. However, the resource does not offer meaningful insight into the contrast between women’s roles before and after the war, making a meaningful contribution to the research. Despite this weakness, it is important to the research in that it is useful in informing the study from the perspective of women in military uniform and how well they served their countries. The researcher can also extract from it information on the war’s effect on women’s patriotism.

Jaworski, T. (2014). “You’re in the Army Now:” The Impact of World War II on Women’s Education, Work, and Family. The Journal of Economic History74(1), 169–195. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0022050714000060

This article explains World War II’s effects on the rates of graduation from high school and college. It posits a decrease in educational activities, owing to the recruitment of people in various fields related to war activities. Of particular interest was the decline in the number of women who attended high school and changes in the decisions that women made regarding the family institution. The resource offers several meaningful additions to the research on the effect of the war on women’s welfare. It explains how the war affected them negatively in various crucial aspects of life. Combining multiple dimensions of the effects makes it a comprehensive resource from which a researcher may start the study. The resource is also specific about women’s issues, making it a valuable source of information on the effects of the war on women. It also separates the effects based on the age of the affected women, thereby offering more accurate information than what is available in most other resources of its kind. It eases the researcher’s work of determining the specific issues that happened to women of different ages.  It also creates a firm foundation upon which the researcher may build researches on age differences—for example, research on the differences in impact and incidence of wars on women of different ages.

Strong, J. D., & Weiss, E. L. (2017). The shifting impact of war on women’s lives and families. Journal of Family Social Work20(2), 81–83. https://doi.org/10.1080/10522158.2017.1286879

This resource explores the notable changes in American society due to various wars that have taken place in history. It explains that wars, especially World Wars I and II, caused major shifts in the way society envisioned women and the roles they played. It highlights the change in American society’s thoughts on women working in jobs previously considered to be a reserve for men. World War II was a particularly important period in which women got opportunities to serve in such restricted positions, owing to men’s shortage. The authors concentrate on the effects that such wars have had on the lives of women in society. It contributes significantly to the research on the long-term effects of World War II concerning women’s position. However, the resource includes other wars and their effects, which reduces the depth of the information offered on the Second World War in particular. This weakness is reducible through the use of more resources to find out information on the same topic.

Kuwert, P., Glaesmer, H., Eichhorn, S., Grundke, E., Pietrzak, R. H., Freyberger, H. J., & Klauer, T. (2014). Long-Term Effects of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence Compared with Non-Sexual War Trauma in Female World War II Survivors: A Matched Pairs Study. Archives of Sexual Behavior43(6), 1059–1064. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-014-0272-8

This article explains the long-term impact of the Second World War on the women who experienced it. It specializes in the analysis of the effects that resulted from both sexual and non-sexual violence. The researchers conducted a study using the available shreds of evidence amongst the wartime female survivors. Doing so makes enriches the resource with reliable information that has is available in primary sources. It raises the credibility of the research, making it worth consideration in informing the current study. The research used in the resource includes both qualitative and quantitative information. Using both research methods makes the resource comprehensive since each method compensates for the limitations of the other. The resource is applicable in finding out the long-term effects of the violations of rights of women that continued to haunt them long after the war. It is especially useful for considering the long-term effects and differentiating their impacts on different women who suffered differently.

Goldin, C., & Olivetti, C. (2013). Shocking Labor Supply: A Reassessment of the Role of World War II on U.S. Women’s Labor Supply. https://doi.org/10.3386/w18676

This article explains the increase in female labor over the last 100 years.  It posits that there has been an observable boost in the number of women who provide labor in various industries.  Of particular interest is the increase that took place during World War II. The authors suggest that the period experienced enormous growth at the period. The resource is useful in studying women’s participation as part of the labor force during the Second World War. It supports the research by focusing on the specific period of interest. It is also useful because it introduces a rare perspective of the study by explaining the impact of the war on the amount of time women spent working and the sources of the observed variances. The resource’s rare contribution is bound to enrich the study at hand, which makes it a valuable asset to the researcher. Also, its critical analysis of the issue is a good addition that will influence the research’s conclusions.

Buckland, S. S. (2000). Fashion as a Tool of World War II: A Case Study Supporting the SI Theory. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal18(3), 140–151. https://doi.org/10.1177/0887302×0001800303

This resource seeks to explain the effect that Second World War had on women’s fashion. It posits that the changes in the gender that provided labor to the industries that existed at the time triggered a change in women’s dressing code. The nature of the jobs left vacant by the men who joined the army necessitated them to adjust in the clothes they wore to perform properly at work. The resource explains that changes in women’s fashion began with the introduction of trousers as part of the workplace attire. Pant-wearing for women was a novice issue in society, but accepting the changing definition of femininity and gender roles enabled people to change their mentality. This article is important because it explains how World War II affected women by revolutionizing their dressing code. It adds a new dimension to the positive effects that the war had on women by focusing on an unexpected dimension. It also explains the source of the long-term effects on women’s attire, thereby adding a meaningful dimension to the war.

Santana, M. C. (2016). From Empowerment to Domesticity: The Case of Rosie the Riveter and the WWII Campaign. Frontiers in Sociology1. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsoc.2016.00016

This article explains the change in empowerment that took place at the end of World War II. It suggests that American women experienced a high in empowerment during the war. However, the empowerment was short-lived. Afterward, they were asked to go back to the domestic roles from whence they initially came. The resource attributes the empowerment to the need for the country to have a complete process through which it would win the war, which had necessitated women’s involvement through the campaign of Rosie the Riveter. The shift away from the war upon its end meant the end of their empowerment. The resource explains that there were both short and long-term effects of the short-lived empowerment. It also explains how women navigated around salary differences, military benefits, and variations at work. It offers a significantly large input to the study by revealing that the war had short and long-term effects on women. This characteristic makes it worth using in the research since it offers expansive insights.

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