Encouraged by the government to “back their men at the front,“ millions of women either entered the workforce for the first time during World War II or used wartime opportunities to move into better paying or higher skilled jobs. Although they enjoyed the higher pay of wartime industries, women often faced opposition from unions and male workers, and were paid lower wages than their male counterparts in sex-segregated jobs. Still, working in wartime industries expanded the horizons and enhanced the self-confidence of millions of women. The women and men in this picture are seen beginning to unwind at the end of their shift in a Richmond, California, shipyard.
Source: Dorothea Lange—Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.