Women operating an assembly line in ordinance facility

Credit:  Courtesy Olin Corporation


Wages in munitions plants and aircraft factories averaged more than those for traditional female jobs.  Women abandoned traditional jobs, particularly domestic service, to work in war production plants offering 40 percent higher wages. Women who entered war production were primarily working-class wives, widows, divorcees, and students who needed the money.


Munitions factories were mostly located in unpopulated areas because of the dangers of accidental explosion and fire. Many women were recruited to migrate from rural areas to take on the dangerous but necessary work. They often faced shortages of housing and food service establishments, and rationing of gasoline and tires made travel difficult.
Poster, “The girl he left behind” is still behind him—She’s a WOW," by Adolph Treidler, 1943
Credit:   Library of Congress
Women production workers in ammunition factories wore the Women Ordnance Workers scarf for safety and pride, 1944

Credit:  Courtesy Olin Corporation
Women "on line" in the process of making ammunition. 

Credit:  Courtesy Olin Corporation
An ordnance worker shows her dexterity in putting
"shot" into shotgun shells by hand.

Credit: Courtesy Olin Corporation




































Josephine Von Miklos worked in an arms plant and a shipyard. She wrote about the need for constant attention to detail:

“If your piece of steel is one-thousandth larger than it is designed to be, there will be too much powder—by a minute fraction—in the ring, and the fuse will go off too late. If your piece of steel is a thousandth too small, there will be a minute fraction of powder missing, and the fuse may go off too early. The shell will either not hit the enemy, or will hit your own lines. …There is no tolerance in tools like these. There is no tolerance in death.” (From "I Took a War Job)