Women and War: St. Petersburg Women during World War II

TitleWomen and War: St. Petersburg Women during World War II
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsBabb, Ellen J.
JournalFlorida Historical Quarterly
Date Published07/1994

During World War II, government agencies and private businesses recruited millions of American women for employment in wartime industries and in other nontraditional fields when the nation's young men left for war. In a radical departure from previously sanctioned public behavior, older, married women—many with children—entered the country's labor force en masse. This article focuses on the wartime experiences of women in St. Petersburg, Florida, to determine how the lives of individual women in this southern resort town compared with the lives of women nationwide during World War II. With a population of more than 600,000, St. Petersburg lacked a solid industrial base when war broke out, relying on tourism and associated services for its economic survival. Despite this, St. Petersburg women involved themselves in many of the same economic and volunteer activities as women in more industrial settings, taking jobs in traditionally "male fields" like automobile repair, welding, and city transit operations.

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