When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again – The Roots of American Feminism

Most Americans are familiar with images of Rosie the Riveter as a champion of women in the workforce during World War II.  It’s also fairly common knowledge that the shift away from so-called “traditional” gender roles that began during WWII and intensified after the war led to the modern feminist movement.  The Second World War wasn’t the first time American women entered the workforce in large numbers though – the same thing happened during World War I!  So why did the 1940s and 50s usher in a new era of gender relations instead of the 1920s?

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Women at the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, CA. (Library of Congress)

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