Women in Industry

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"World War I Poster -- For Every Fighter a Woman Worker." Courtesy of the Springfield College Archives and Special Collections via Digital Commonwealth.

The Woman’s Land Army of America (WLAA) recruited more than 20,000 urban women to work on rural farms during World War I. Most had no experience working on farms, and were required to become quick studies in the agricultural world. Women learned to drive tractors, plow fields, plant, and harvest crops.

In the absence of the male laborers who had gone off to the front lines, women also took up roles in factories that traditionally employed men. The most common factories in which women labored produced ammunition and textilesindustries that directly supported the war effort. The success of women in such labor-driven sectors challenged the conventional perceptions of the woman’s role in American industry and society.