Published Date

June 1, 1944

Resource Type

GI Roundtable Series, Primary Source

By Clifford Kirkpatrick
Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota
Revised by A.G. Mezerik
(Published June 1944)


Table of Contents

Wartime Wives

The Age-Old Problem

Figures Tell the Story

Why Wives Are Working

What Will the Women Want?

Do Women Have a Special Problem?

Other Problems to Be Solved

Trial by Debate

Some Attempts to Solve the Woman Problem

Wartime Wives

The war has drawn vast armies of women from their homes into jobs of all sorts. The number of working women has increased 25 per cent during the past three years. Today women hold one in every three civilian jobs in the country. War has given them new motives, stirred up new problems, brought about new adjustments.

“There are two things I want to be sure of after the war,” writes a soldier from the South Pacific. “I want my wife waiting for me and I want my job waiting for me. I don’t want to find my wife busy with a job that some returning soldier needs, and I don’t want to find that some other man’s wife has my job.”

What will men like this one actually find when they come home? Will their wives be only too glad to give up their strenuous jobs in war plants to return to the job of being homemakers? Or will they continue to work outside the home? If they must or prefer to stay at home again what will be done to make the tasks of homemaking more attractive? If a woman wants to keep on working after the war what will her husband’s attitude be? If there are no longer jobs enough for everyone should a married woman be allowed to work? Does she have as much right as her husband to try to find the work she wants? These are only a few of the questions that must be faced when the war is over. They are not new questions, for inventions old and new, including spinning machinery and the typewriter, changed the status of women. But these and all related questions have been magnified by the war.