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Employing Women during World War II

Millions of women entered the workforce to take the place of the men who were off to the military. By 1943, 17 million women filled a third of civilian jobs, 5 million of them in war factories. “If you’ve followed recipes exactly in making cakes, you can learn to load shells,” proclaimed billboards recruiting women to the workplace.

Some companies offered childcare or provided meals to take home as incentives to lure women into the workplace. But women were still given the short end of the stick when it came to wages: In 1944, women got an average of $31.21 a week for working in war-related factories, while men doing the same jobs were paid $54.65.

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