Women and the War
Advertisers working for the U.S. government and private relief agencies were well-practiced in speaking to women consumers; they reached out to women as part of the effort to build enthusiasm for the war. Posters highlighted new opportunities for women to serve or to support the service of other women.
Nearly one million women joined the civilian workforce. For the first time women served in the armed forces: nearly 13,000 in the Navy and Marines, 20,000 in the Army and Navy Nurse Corps, and 450 in the Army Signal Corps. And tens of thousands more volunteered with private social service and religious organizations at home and abroad.
Take a Closer Look
Note the contradictory portrayals of women in the posters. On one hand, artists depicted women as people who needed to be protected from an encroaching enemy. On the other, they celebrated women—many in military or civilian service uniforms—as strong figures who were critical to the success of the war effort. The posters reflected emerging attitudes toward women and their roles.