partners exhibit heading




For many women, World War II brought not only sacrifices, but also new jobs, new skills, and new opportunities.  America's “secret weapon” was the women who voluntarily mobilized to meet every challenge.  U. S. government and industry expanded dramatically to meet the wartime needs. Women made it possible.

This exhibition, adapted from a temporary exhibit NWHM displayed at Arlington Cemetery from 2004-05, is divided into five sections. Click on the images below to enter any section or click "Next Page" to continue with the exhibition in order. There are also buttons at the top of each page that allow you to enter a particular section at any time.

American Magazine Cover
Changing Images of Women's Roles

Women were needed to fill many traditionally male jobs and roles during the war and various advertisements were used to encourage women to take on these jobs and roles.


women in the military

Women in the Military

Women joined the nurse corps and the armed forces so that more men could be sent into combat. Women leaders helped determine the outcome of the war and the peace that followed.   


women serving the military

Women Serving the Military

Women were encouraged to enter professions.
“Government Girls" came to Washington D.C. to help run the rapidly expanding federal government and participate behind the lines in the war effort.


women in production

Women in Production

U.S factories retooled for war production.  New facilities greatly expanded industrial output— and women were a significant part of the labor force. Women kept the country running by filling traditionally male jobs.


home and community

Women at Home and in the Community

In the community, women raised money for war bonds, collected blood, rolled bandages, aided in civil defense, tended Victory Gardens, and hosted troops.  In the home, women recycled scarce materials, dealt with the strains of rationing, raised their children, and mourned the war dead.



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(c) Copyright National Women's History Museum 2007