Camilla B asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

Average occupation for a woman in her early 20s in 1944?

I'm working on a story that takes place in several different time periods and I want it to be as historically accurate as possible.

One of the timelines takes place in 1944 or 1943. I want her to be upper middle class or similar, around the age of 20 or 21, and living somewhere on the West Coast.

What would this woman be doing with her life? Would she be going to college or working, and where would she be working? Would she still be living at home? What would her income be? What was daily life like?

Please be detailed. Sources would be helpful.

Thank you!

8 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Many women would have been working at factories, replacing the men who had gone off to War. Women were also in the armed services. The idea was replace the men in non-combat rolls with women, they became clerks, typists, & mechanics.

    http://womenshistory.about.com/od/warwwii/a/women_... - this site is about the types of jobs women took

    http://womenshistory.about.com/od/warwwii/a/milita... - This site is about women in the military in WWII

    My mother was a newly wed bride in 1942, she had an AA degree. Her father kept his job for the entire depression and her family income was sufficient to send her to college for two years. (Pretty well off for the time)

    She worked as a store clerk in a pharmacy in San Jose, CA, for $25 a week. She lived with her mother after my Dad signed-up for the Navy. When my Dad was transferred to San Diego (UN NAVY) she got a job in ship's stores at the Navy base there. She earned about $50 a week by the wars end.

    Housing in San Diego was in short supply and she rented rooms in various houses until Daddy came back from the South Pacific, then they shared a house with another couple (the husband was also in the service)

    I have her budget records from the period. My folks were paying about $40 a month for rent and another $40 for food, Daddy was also paying child support of $50 a month.

    By the time the war ended, Mother had enough money in the bank to make a down payment on a small 2 bedroom house in San Jose. Daddy started the war earning about $30 a week, but by the end of the war it had reached about $60 a week.

    Source(s): BA in history, Mom's diary & budget records
  • Frosty
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    43 and 44 were during WW2 so some women were working at men's jobs because the men were serving in the military overseas. If they were in San Francisco or San Diego or Los Angeles they might be working in the shipyards and other military type factories. The usual job would be a typist, stenograher, or switchboard operator. Most women did not go to college because they would stay home and take care of the house. She would still be living at home until she married or living in a boarding house. Most likely not alone in an apartment. Her income would be very small.

    In 1945 the average cost of a new house was $4,600, average wages per year were $2,400 per year, a gallon of gas cost 15 cents and average cost of houst rent was $60 per month. A new car cost $1,020 and a man's shirt cost $2.50.

    Daily life was much simpler back then. Entertainment was listening to radio programs when they were on in the evening, and reading books. They had dances every so often somewhere in the area.

    Source(s): I was born in 1945.
  • 1 decade ago

    A single girl of the upper middle classes would very likely be in college, since that was the class most likely to go to college in those days. She might be in medical school or law school if she was exceptionally ambitious.

    if she was working, she would most probably be a teacher or a nurse or a social worker or a librarian, or she might be working in an office. Some girls did drop out of college to do defense work.

    or she might be in one of the women's armed services. About 350,000 American women joined the women's services during the war, mainly in the WAC (women's army corps) or the nursing corps.

    She might still be living at home or she might be sharing an apartment with other girls. She would go out to dances with her friends, though if they were going steady or engaged they would most likely dance with each other rather than with men, it was quite common for girls to dance together during the war. Even the dance band might be an all-girls one. Most people went to the movies at least once a week.

    Rationing meant that a lot of food items were in short supply, and also stockings. Girls who couldn't get stockings would paint thei rlegs, magazines ran articles showing how to paint a realistic seam down the calf.

    Single women did not on the whole stay home and take care of the house in those days, they generally had to work for a living just like they do now.

    Source(s): 'America's Women: 400 years of Dolls, Drudges, helpmates and heroines' by Gail Collins
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    This was during WWII, so many women were having jobs that women had not taken in the past. Some were driving taxis, many worked as secretaries, waitresses, even in factories and on construction sites. Many became nurses and served either at home or overseas.

    I think that by this time a young woman would be living on her own in a city.

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  • monger
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    40 3 and 40 4 have been for the duration of WW2 so some women human beings have been working at adult males's jobs because of the fact the adult males have been serving interior the defense force foreign places. in the event that they have been in San Francisco or San Diego or l. a. they could be working interior the shipyards and different defense force form factories. the familiar interest could be a typist, stenograher, or switchboard operator. maximum women folk human beings did no longer pass to varsity because of the fact they might stay residing house and preserve the residing house. She might nevertheless be residing at residing house until she married or residing in a boarding residing house. maximum probable no longer on my own in an place of abode. Her earnings could be very small. In 1945 the familiar fee of a sparkling residing house became $4,six hundred, familiar wages consistent with 12 months have been $2,4 hundred consistent with 12 months, a gallon of gasoline fee 15 cents and familiar fee of houst hire became $60 consistent with month. a sparkling automobile fee $a million,020 and a guy's shirt fee $2.50. on a regular basis lifestyles became plenty greater convenient lower back then. entertainment became listening to radio classes whilst they have been on interior the nighttime, and examining books. that they had dances each so in many situations someplace interior the area.

  • a women during world war 2 during 1944 would be living at home married or dating a sloider in the war that she falls in love with on a base of the coast of hawaii she would be writing to her special person in her life i would imagne she would be a waitress in a diner she could be living on her own raising children while the husband is away at seas her income would be low i assume and she would have a hard time taking care of the kids and managing a job at the same time

  • 1 decade ago

    My mother was a young working woman then. She had one semester of college at Palomar College in Escondido, CA, then went to work for Western Union. She lived with relatives at first, then moved into the YWCA.

    She was good enough at her job (sending and translating telegrams) that Western Union transferred her to Cheyenne, WY. That's where she met this charming soldier and didn't realize he was the scamp she'd been warned about.

    :D

    Source(s): Family history.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    clerical, primary and secondary education, and nursing

    also factory work during WWII

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