Proud to Send Those Parachutes Off : Central Utah's Rosies During World War II
Brigham Young University
Master of Arts
World War II affected individuals across the nation, both on the home front and on the front lines. Manti, Utah received a new industry, a parachute plant, in connection with the war. Hundreds of women from Sanpete County and neighboring counties were employed through the duration of the war in everything from sewing and inspection to supervision of production. Some of the women utilized childcare facilities, some formed a union, and many found community and familial support. For many of them, this wartime wage work provided a welcomed alternative to the work usually found in rural areas, such as farm work, housework, and café work. Women were primarily motivated to work out of patriotic duty and economic opportunity.
In many wartime industries, women were in previously male-dominated occupations and lost their jobs at the conclusion of the war. In contrast, the parachute plant offered its women workers the opportunity to continue working when the plant began manufacturing clothing after the war, and the surrounding rural community was largely supportive of its working women.
This study makes a case for the long-term impact of wartime work upon individual women. Work experience outside the home affected the women's estimation and definition of themselves. The war period was a crucial event in women's lives, not just an important passing stage. Oral histories allow interpretation in the context of their adult lives from a long-term perspective. By delving into community and family situations and looking at these women on an individualized basis in the long-term, this study goes deeper than surveys and makes substantive contributions to our understanding of the war's influence.