33¢ Women Support War Effort
Celebrate the Century – 1940s
Issue Date: February 18, 1999
City: Dobbins AFB, GA
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed, engraved
One of the most dramatic social changes during World War II was the extraordinary job opportunities for women. Virtually overnight, housewives and mothers were transformed into welders, electricians, mechanics, taxi drivers, attorneys, fire fighters, and police officers, changing the working world forever.
Between 1940 and 1944, the number of working women increased from 12 million to 18.2 million. Many of those who had worked at service-related jobs before the war moved into higher-paying skilled positions. For example, because of a waitress shortage, one-third of the restaurants in Detroit were closed by 1943.
Throughout the war years, women who took jobs entered a male-only world. Working conditions were difficult and dangerous. Women also had to deal with sexual harassment on the job, and were paid less than their male counterparts.
In 1943, graphic artist J. Howard Miller created the most famous poster portraying a woman worker. Now it is featured on a 1999 U.S. postage stamp. The poster, produced for the Westinghouse Corporation, shows the woman wearing a bandanna and work shirt with her employee identification tag pinned on her collar. She is also wearing fingernail polish, lipstick, and mascara.