August 26th marks the anniversary of the certification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, an important step in allowing women’s participation in the democratic process, and is nationally recognized as Women’s Equality Day. This celebration emphasizes the importance of women within democracy and calls attention to continuing efforts toward full equality.
This World War II era poster We’re in the Fight, too! portrays women’s vital role in America’s war effort. With the United States’ entrance into WWII, every man that could fight was expected to do so. Women filled empty positions in the work force while continuing to work the “double shift” of motherhood and household maintenance. While many were in paid positions, even more volunteered time and energy, collectively bolstering the nation’s economic stability and war success abroad. On this poster, the smiling woman speaks to the many farms run by women during this time, following the then-common slogan “Food for Freedom.” Farms produced food crops to support the war effort; for example, sugar beets were used to create industrial alcohol, a key ingredient in explosives. As one woman wrote, “We’re working for Victory, too; growing food for ourselves and our countrymen. While other women work at machines and in factories—we’re soldiers in overalls” (Toni Taylor, ‘Women on the Home Front,’ McCall’s, May 1942).