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Women Serving the Military
Women Serving the Military




Government Girls:

All around the country women stepped into government jobs vacated by men. More than a million women, many of them young and single, came to Washington D.C. As more men were deployed overseas, women -- both military and civilian --were admitted into professional classifications previously reserved exclusively for men. By 1944, women accounted for more than a third of civil service jobs.

War Department Secretary in Washington, DC

To the left a War Department worker enters the Social Security building with temporary wartime buildings on the Mall in Washington, D.C. in the background.

Women who answered the call to government service were not promised careers. “Government Girls” as they were known could only hold their jobs for the duration of the national emergency because the federal employees who had been drafted or reassigned were entitled to reclaim their jobs at war’s end. 

Clerical work was a typical female job in the War Department, and women moved mountains of paper during the course of the war. Women civilian employees of the War Department were permitted to wear WAC uniforms, obscuring the distinction between military units and civilian employees. 

Aurelia Taylor and Torreceita Pinder, Stenographers in the U.S. State Department Filing room for the Foreign Function Bureau Office of Lend-Lease Adminsitration

Photos, left to right: 1) Aurelia Taylor and Torreceita Pinder, stenographers in the U.S. State Department, Washington, D.C., May 1943. 2) Filing room in an apartment house turned into office space for the Foreign Function Bureau, Washington, D.C., December 1941. 3) Office in an apartment house turned into office space for the foreign liaison bureau of the Office of Lend-Lease Administration, Washington, D.C. December 1941. Click on the photos for a larger view.


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 Photo Credits: All courtesy of the Library of Congress

(c) Copyright National Women's History Museum 2007