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The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women's Employment


  • Goldin, Claudia D


The 1940s were a turning point in married women's labor-force participation, leading many to credit World War II with spurring economic and social change. This paper uses two retrospective surveys from 1944 and 1951 to show that half of all married women employed in 1950 were working in 1940, and more than half of the decade's new entrants joined after the war. Of all wartime entrants, the majority exited after 1944 but before 1950. The war had several significant indirect impacts on women's employment, but its direct influence appears to have been more modest. Copyright 1991 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Goldin, Claudia D, 1991. "The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women's Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 741-756, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:81:y:1991:i:4:p:741-56

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    References listed on IDEAS

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