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Rosie the Riveter, Vera the Volunteer: Sexism, Racism, and Female Enlistment in WWII

Artiles, Alexandra; Treneska, Joana; Fahey, Kevin; Atkinson, Douglas B.


Alexandra Artiles

Joana Treneska

Assistant Professor in Political Science

Douglas B. Atkinson


What influenced women to volunteer for service in the U.S. military during World War II? While previous literature focused on potential intrinsic and extrinsic individual-level motives, we consider the broader structural context that may have played a role in female volunteerism. We leverage original data containing information on all volunteers who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, along with detailed county-level economic, political, and demographic data, to explore patterns of female volunteerism in the military. Our findings suggest that racism and sexism played a role in female volunteerism in many parts of the country, which may have undermined the government's goals of mobilizing the whole country in support of the war effort.


Artiles, A., Treneska, J., Fahey, K., & Atkinson, D. B. (2023). Rosie the Riveter, Vera the Volunteer: Sexism, Racism, and Female Enlistment in WWII. PS: Political Science and Politics,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 17, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 17, 2023
Publication Date Mar 17, 2023
Deposit Date Mar 17, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 17, 2023
Journal PS: Political Science and Politics
Print ISSN 1049-0965
Electronic ISSN 1537-5935
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL
Publisher URL


Fahey PS DOIS104909652300015X (120 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association

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