I wish you would not refer to women as a 'minority' , women make up 50?f the population, we are not a minority!
In America, about 350,00 women enlisted in the services, mainly the Women's Army Corps and the nursing corps. On the home front, women were being encouraged to go to work as well. In 'America's women' Gail Collins writes:
"'About 6 million women did take jobs during the war, joining the 14 million who had already been working and doing everything from paving roads to operating cranes. By the time fighting ended in 1945, women made up more than a third of the national workforce. "
Most of the women who went to work were single, although the government tried to encourage housewives to take on jobs, about 90?f them did not. This was partly because the American government did not offer any assitance with childcare, so there was often nobody to look after the children if they did go to work. However, housewives did have to cope with rationing. Many items were scarece, like meat, butter, sugar (though unlike the UK, there seem to have been plenty of eggs available). women would get together to exchange ration coupons "My mother and all the neighbours would get together around the dining-room table, and they'd be changing a sugar coupon for a bread or a meat coupon." said Sheril Cunning, who was a chidl in Long Beach, California, during the war. Clothing was rationed too, women couldn't get stockings, so they used to paint their legs. Since the stockings of the 1940s had seams down the back, women's magazines ran guides on how to draw a realistic-looking line down the calf.
There was a shortage of men during the war, with so many away, so girls would go out in groups and dance with each other.
Black women suffered discrimination when it came to getting jobs. May Angelou for instance eventually got to be a streetcare conductor, but only after a long struggle. Eventually, women in New York were able to break the color barrier in 1944 and got jobs as telephone operatiors. Factories were reluctant to hire black women for the highly-piad defence jobs. When light industry went out recruiting, it turned to white women, while heavy industry targeted black men. Gail Collins writes:
'Most employers, when challenged by government or civil rights groups, claimed that they could not hire black women because white women refused to work with them.. This was often true, although companies that took a firm line and forced their employees to choose between integration and loss of their lucrative jobs generally managed to overcome the problem fairly quickly. Studies suggest that men were not threatened by the presence of African Americans in the factories, but they reacted angrily if black men were promoted to jobs with higher salaries or more authority. The white women, on the other hand, seemed intent on keeping a physical distance. They sometimes demanded seperate bathrooms, claiming black women carried venereal disease.
It was not until 1944, under heavy pressure from eleanor Roosevelt, that black women were welcomed into the military. the WAC eventually enlisted 4,000 black recruits. Despite its grave shortage of nurses, the army was reluctant to take black RNs - particularly if they were to be treating white soldiers. The corps eventually took 500.
In civilian life, black women moved into whatever slots white women left. They often took over low-paying jobs like elevator oeprators and car cleaners on railroads, but whatever the job, they saw it as an improvement over domestic work. "My sister always said that Hitler was the one that got us out of the white folks' kitchens" said Tina Hill, a Los Angeles aircraft plant worker. The white housewives who werre left scrambling for domestic help blamed the government - particularly the Roosevelts - for encouraging the black women to look for higher-paying opportunities.
Japanese-Americans were sent to internment camps. When they were interned, they were allowed to bring with them only what they could carry. Many of the men were taken away first, because they were suspected of being enemy agents. Gail Collins writes:
'Yoshiko Uchida and her sister and parents were sent to a center in California where they were quartered in a stable, each family assigned to one horse stall. "The stall was about ten by twenty feet and empty except for three folded Amry cots lying on the floor" she wrote later.
Once the internees wre relocated to permanent camps, the Japanese Americans created lives as best they could. The Department of the Interior boasted that the camp residents "are now producing practically all the vegetables needed by the 90,000 peopel residing at the centres. meanwhile, 33,000 young Japanese American men were serving in the army, fighting with great distinction overseas. Japanese American women, eager to prove their patriotism, volunteered for the WACs. But the army did everything it could to downplay their presence. when one of the first groups of Japanese WACs was sworn in at a ceremony in Denver, a reporter covering the event was forbidden to take a picture, and the WAC officials later successfully lobbied to kill the story entirely.'
Answered By: Louise C - 3/19/2008