Abstract

World War II affected individuals across the nation, both on the home front and on the front lines. Manti, Utah received a new industry, a parachute plant, in connection with the war. Hundreds of women from Sanpete County and neighboring counties were employed through the duration of the war in everything from sewing and inspection to supervision of production. Some of the women utilized childcare facilities, some formed a union, and many found community and familial support. For many of them, this wartime wage work provided a welcomed alternative to the work usually found in rural areas, such as farm work, housework, and café work. Women were primarily motivated to work out of patriotic duty and economic opportunity. In many wartime industries, women were in previously male-dominated occupations and lost their jobs at the conclusion of the war. In contrast, the parachute plant offered its women workers the opportunity to continue working when the plant began manufacturing clothing after the war, and the surrounding rural community was largely supportive of its working women. This study makes a case for the long-term impact of wartime work upon individual women. Work experience outside the home affected the women's estimation and definition of themselves. The war period was a crucial event in women's lives, not just an important passing stage. Oral histories allow interpretation in the context of their adult lives from a long-term perspective. By delving into community and family situations and looking at these women on an individualized basis in the long-term, this study goes deeper than surveys and makes substantive contributions to our understanding of the war's influence. The period of wartime work, when viewed in the long-term context of the women's lives, was significant especially in that women had additional economic resources at their disposal and acquired new-found confidence and skills. Women's work experiences provoked desire for future work and served as a source of confidence to them. Personal, individualized victories for women, often ignored or concealed by aggregate statistics on women's work during and immediately following the war, were a reality for women in Manti and likely elsewhere in America.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; History

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2006-07-17

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd1463

Keywords

World War II, Manti Utah, Sanpete County, working women, "Rosies", Parachute Company of Utah, C. E. Fauntleroy, Reliance Manufacturing, Mormon women, rural women, oral history, wartime industry, central Utah, family and work, childcare

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