Rosie the Riveter has become an icon for working women's contributions to World War II, but more than three million women also labored on America's agricultural front. The Women's Land Army - consisting largely of urban homemakers, office and industrial workers, and students - put women to work caring for livestock; laboring in dairies and canneries; and planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops. Accounting for the majority of wartime farm labor, these remarkable women helped to ensure both "Freedom from Want" at home and victory abroad. In 1943 the government formed the Women's Land Army as part of the Emergency Farm Labor Program, placing its workers in areas where American farmers urgently needed assistance. Many farmers in even the most desperate areas, however, initially opposed women working their land. Rural administrators in the Midwest and the South yielded to necessity and employed several hundred thousand women as farm laborers by the end of the war, but those in the Great Plains and eastern Rocky Mountains remained hesitant, suffering serious agricultural and financial losses as a consequence.
Placing agricultural work in the larger context of twentieth-century women's labor history, Carpenter shows how the WLA changed the national view of farming. By accepting all available women as agricultural workers, farmers abandoned traditional labor and stereotypical social practices. When the WLA officially disbanded in 1945, many members remained in their agricultural jobs rather than return to a full-time home life or their prewar employment. Shedding new light on women who responded to the call of their country, On the Farm Front for the first time illuminates the Women's Land Army's unique contribution to prosperity and victory, and to changing women's role in American society.
Buy On the Farm Front book by Stephanie A. Carpenter from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(230mm x 161mm x 23mm)
Northern Illinois University Press
Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
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Author Biography - Stephanie A. Carpenter
Stephanie A. Carpenter is Assistant Professor of History at Murray State University in Kentucky. She is author of numerous articles on agricultural and women's history.