During Wwii Essay, Research Paper
Women In The New York Navy Yard During WWII
Beginning with the aggressive recruiting methods utilized to bring them in, and ending with the return of men from the war – especially veterans -, women became extremely active in the working force during World War II. This was evident at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where four thousand and six hundred women were employed. Even though they remained employed for up to six months after the war, eventually men did return to their positions, leaving only women veterans still qualified to hold a position there. However, the focus of a speech on this matter by Dr. Sparr was the activity that occurred during these women’s employment.
A total of 71,000 were employed at this navy shipyard; but out of this total, only 4,600 were women. At no time did the total of women exceed 8% of the shipyard’s overall population. The shipyard itself was named the New York Navy Shipyard, however a campaign was started to change it to the Brooklyn Navy Shipyard due to its location. This shipyard was the world’s largest industrial employer. The Maine and Missouri were built there, and the Monitor ship was fitted there. Some of the buildings within the shipyard were ones that remained from the Civil War period. Prior to World War II, only 120 women were employed at the shipyard, and their sole occupation was to sow United State Flags.
This would all change in 1942, when six million people entered the labor force during the war. The New York Navy Yard built fighting ships, which lead to the recruit of women to their work force. Women began committing to jobs where they welded and riveted. Women in overalls became the attractive ones, and the center of romanticism. The ideal employee at the shipyard was a single, older woman, who could work six days a week for duration of nine to ten hours. In the “first class” of women workers, twelve African-Americans resided among them. Among these twelve, one secured the highest civil service test score ever achieved, a score of 99.
During their time at the New York Navy Yard, women received the same treatment as men. There were many female ship fitters. In May of 1943, there were 1,080 women welders. The shipyard once fused two destroyers that had many bad parts into one good ship. Accomplishments like this are what brought on their nickname, the “Can do navy yard.” During their ‘reign’ at the shipyard, women had the lowest accident rate there. A clothing store solely for women was opened within the yard, as well as a Sears Shoes shop. The employees filled eight full cafeterias every day for meals. The yard also helped the Brooklyn economy greatly. “VJ Day” was in August of 1945, after which women were the first to depart the yard. Veterans were given the first choice of positions, and citizens who served were offered their jobs back as well since it was promised to them if they served. After 1946, no women worked in the yard, however they did feel empowerment while working there, but realized they were never meant to be permanent.
An overall assessment of the conditions and activities at the New York Navy Yard shows that women played a very important role there during wartime. Now, one can look back and realize it was inevitable that women would storm the working force, however as can be seen in this review, they were always forced to be quiet about things. For example, the way they allowed men to return to their jobs, and didn’t really fight them. Atop this, they allowed them to regain their empowerment, and played a more submissive role in the family life. There is a lot of respect to be given to the women who were employed by the New York Navy Yard during World War II for their understanding, and hard work. As a footnote, the yard did close in 1966, still named “New York Navy Yard” as opposed to “Brooklyn Navy Yard.”
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