WWII Home Front: Women Join the Workforce in 'Manpower' (1943)

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

Alan Taylor's twenty-part World War II restrospective is a sweeping look back at the war that defined a century. This week he shares photographs from the home front, so here at the Video Channel we've selected a few highlights from the Internet Archive's vast collection of films from this era. 

"With every man utilized, we are still short millions of hands. We must call upon women. At first, women go into service jobs, releasing men for the army and for war industries. Out of 50 million women at the beginning of the war, 10 million were working. In war towns all across the United States, women are called upon to leave their homes and take jobs ... They discover that factory work is usually no more difficult than house work. Employers find that women can do many jobs as well as men. Some jobs, better." 

This 1943 film, "Manpower," promotes various initiatives to meet the desperate need for labor during the war, and this excerpt focuses on how women entered the workforce for the first time in unprecedented numbers. 

To watch the film in its entirety, visit the Internet Archive

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2011/08/wwii-home-front-women-join-the-workforce-in-manpower-1943/243208/