Photos of WWII Women Civilian Workers

A worker at the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation plant drills a wing bulkhead for a transport plane.

During World War II, more than six million women joined the civilian workforce, filling jobs left vacant by the men who went to war. They labored in the lumber mills and steel mills, the foundries and shipyards. They became clerical workers and taxi drivers, mechanics and police officers, and they served their country in the war effort through various auxiliary organizations. Government propaganda, including the fictional Rosie the Riveter, sought to make these non-traditional jobs more appealing to women. Those efforts proved to be successful, as roughly one-third of the civilian workforce between the years 1940 and 1945 was comprised of women. During those years, they produced an astounding 300,000 aircraft, 12,000 ships, 86,000 tanks, and 64,000 landing craft in addition to millions of artillery pieces and small weapons. Despite the fact that many lost their jobs following the end of the war, the legacy of Rosie the Riveter continues to live on.

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Two women operate a machine in a factory during World War II.

Two women operate a machine in a factory during World War II. Captured by a Minneapolis newspaper photographer on March 3, 1943.

Six women posing in front of Ford's 6,000th B-24 Bomber

Six women posing in front of Ford's 6,000th B-24 Bomber at Willow Run airport, September 9, 1944.

Lorena Craig is a cowler under civil service at the Naval Air Base, Corpus Christi, Texas

Lorena Craig is a cowler under civil service at the Naval Air Base, Corpus Christi, Texas. August 1942.

On an aircraft carrier deck, women work as welders and scrapers.

On an aircraft carrier deck, women work as welders and scrapers. Those alongside this steel prefabricated deck section who are without headgear and masks operate tools which scrape loose surface imperfections in preparation for welding.

Bette and Lois Rathburn of Lincoln in dresses typical of the 1940s celebrate the end of World War II.

Bette (left) and Lois Rathburn of Lincoln, in dresses typical of the 1940s, celebrate the end of World War II.

The art assembly line of female students busily engaged in copying World War II propaganda posters in Port Washington, New York

The art assembly line of female students busily engaged in copying World War II propaganda posters in Port Washington, New York, on July 8, 1942. The master poster is hanging in the background.n the

A Red Cross Donut Dolly serves her sugary fare to American GIs on a train returning from German POW camps that were liberated by the Russians.

A Red Cross "Donut Dolly" serves her sugary fare to American GIs on a train returning from German POW camps that were liberated by the Russians. April 9, 1945.

9.	Drilling a wing bulkhead for a transport plane at the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation plant, Fort Worth, Texas.

Drilling a wing bulkhead for a transport plane at the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation plant, Fort Worth, Texas.

American Women's Voluntary Services members wearing various AWVS uniforms

The American Women's Voluntary Services provided support services such as ambulance driving, message delivery, dog-sled teamsters, firefighters, aerial photography, and canteen workers. Here are a group of American Women's Voluntary Services members wearing various AWVS uniforms.

Women workers inspect a partly inflated barrage balloon

Women workers inspect a partly inflated barrage balloon in New Bedford, Massachusetts on May 11, 1943. Each part of the balloon must be stamped by the worker who does the particular job, also by the work inspector of the division, and finally by the "G" inspector, who gives final approval.

A noontime rest for a full-fledged assembly worker at Douglas Aircraft Company.

A noontime rest for a full-fledged assembly worker at the Long Beach, Calif., plant of Douglas Aircraft Company. Nacelle parts for a heavy bomber form the background.

Manufacture of self-sealing gas tanks at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.

Manufacture of self-sealing gas tanks, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Akron, Ohio. Dec. 1941.

African-American Riveter at Lockheed Aircraft Corp.

African-American Riveter at Lockheed Aircraft Corp., Burbank, CA, 1943.

Cora Ann Bowen and Eloise J. Ellis in the Assembly and Repairs Department.

Mrs. Cora Ann Bowen (left) works as a cowler at the Naval Air Base; Mrs. Eloise J. Ellis is a senior supervisor in the Assembly and Repairs Department, Corpus Christi, Texas.

Bennice Vick Russell and sister-in-law Marjorie Vick share a soda during a break at Brown Shipbuilding Co.

Bennice Vick Russell and sister-in-law Marjorie Vick share a soda during a break at Brown Shipbuilding Co. in Houston, TX, 1944.