World War Ii: The Duties Of Women

1213 words - 5 pages

When people think of women’s role during World War II, they may instantly imagine the famous poster of “Rosie the Riveter,” a female with a bandana around her head and flexing her muscles. This poster certainly symbolizes the roles of women during wartime; however, it represents the women working in the factories while the men were in combat. Consequently, many may unintentionally disregard the abundant number of females serving in the military. Although these females were not permitted to fight in combat, they served in women divisions such as the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). Discussing her service during World War II with interviewer Arthur L. Kelly on Wednesday, July 17, 1985, in Frankfort, Kentucky, Clara Margaret Fort recounted her nearly 25 year career serving with the WAVES. Despite Fort’s inability to remember numerous dates and names throughout the interview, possibly due to her old age, she did discuss the various training she underwent as an enlisted cadre, as well as the different positions she held. Additionally, she discussed the perceptions male militants had of their counterparts, some of which were the causation of gender discrimination. Thus, the interview is an adequate representation of both the roles and discrimination females experienced while serving during the Second World War.
The year was 1943 when Fort was sworn in as an enlisted cadre and sent North for training. Shortly after her training, she was promoted and placed in charge of fellow female corpsmen. Thereafter, Fort was responsible for a military recreational center in Texas. Describing the recreational center, she did not provide vast details except how the center included a few buildings and was segregated—the whites lived in one side of the center, whereas the blacks lived on the opposite side. Having managed the entertainment and stables at the recreational center for three years, Fort’s next position was supervising Pammy. According to Fork, her responsibilities while working for Pammy was to maintain updated addresses of reservists for the monthly bulletin that was distributed. Through various other training requirements and promotions, she eventually ended her military career in 1968 administering GED tests as an officer at the Reserve Center in Lexington, where she was also a training instructor.
Although Fort’s military career extends years after World War II, her memoir does illustrate the type of roles and discrimination females experienced while serving during this time period. The positions Fort served throughout her employment, specifically as the entertainment manager, stable hand, and administrative assistant, were stereotypical jobs for females. Granted, females were limited in the number of positions available to them since they could not battle in combat, but these positions seemingly did not require much skill. It is also important to note that throughout the interview Fort stated that in a majority of her...

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