During both World Wars, women had to step into factory and munitions jobs in order to keep production high. For many women it was the first money they ever earned at a job. For others, it was simply a higher paying job than being a domestic servant for example. Whereas the U.S. was only engaged in World War I for a short time, the need for plentiful labor in the 1940s far eclipsed the labor demand of the 1910s. The government and big companies were recruiting women like crazy to keep the assembly lines moving. While most people agreed that this was a necessary step, not everyone agreed that women were well-suited to the workplace.
Ideas about the temperament and intelligence of women overall was that they were ditzy, dim, or fussy. Of course, these rather backwards notions didn’t take into account the individuality of each woman, but instead generalized them into a group that was “troublesome” to work alongside of for men. As in most jobs, the factory and department heads during this mass employment of women were nearly always men, many of whom resented having to work with such “tough” cookies. Hear the rather sexist advice to male managers at the time in the film reel below from the early 1940s.