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I have searched a while and I have not found any evidence of why all operators at Y-12 had to be women.

enter image description here

I am interested especially in in two aspects:

  1. Who was the person from inside of the project that came up with this initiative?
  2. Why women and not man?

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There are actually several men in the picture if you look closely. –  American Luke Oct 13 '13 at 17:55
    
Do you have any evidence for your assertion? –  Mark C. Wallace Oct 15 '13 at 11:49
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1 Answer

up vote 8 down vote accepted
  1. World War II was in progress - most of the men were busy elsewhere.
  2. While most of the workers were women (see above), there was no requirement to be a woman.

    See Rosie the Riveter

Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military.

The term "Rosie the Riveter" was first used in 1942 in a song of the same name written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb. The song was recorded by numerous artists, including the popular big band leader Kay Kyser, and it became a national hit. The song portrays "Rosie" as a tireless assembly line worker, who is doing her part to help the American war effort.

enter image description here

Norman Rockwell's image of "Rosie the Riveter" received mass distribution on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on Memorial Day, May 29, 1943. Rockwell's illustration features a brawny woman taking her lunch break with a rivet gun on her lap and beneath her Penny loafer a copy of Hitler's manifesto, Mein Kampf. Her lunch pail reads "Rosie"; viewers quickly recognized this to be "Rosie the Riveter" from the familiar song.

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3. Women were locked out most scientific disciplines, hence Y-12 enrichment facility (grunt-work) instead of, say, the Los Alamos research lab (theorists). –  LateralFractal Oct 13 '13 at 23:40
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[citation needed] –  DVK Oct 14 '13 at 3:28
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@al1en Your question was - to begin with - a mostly speculative one. Pieter's answer best reflects the broader understanding of female participation in the war-time economy. These reasons might correlate with pop-psychology about 'female submission' floating around up until the 60s but that isn't the question asked - nor frankly the best fit for history.se if it was. If we had known you were begging the question, it would likely have been closed on the onset; but four terse sentences are hard to get an impression from - your comment on the other hand... –  LateralFractal Oct 14 '13 at 22:33
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@al1en - see edit. You are very mistaken: 1) As stated in edit, there were many jobs vacated by men during WW2. 2) Although in the earlier part of the 20th century, many/most women became "housewives", after Pearl Harbor, patriotism and a sense of civic duty swelled in the USA, motivating many women to help with the war effort through working in the factories, etc. Although before that women who did so were sometimes looked upon with disdain, working for the war effort was different. –  comeAndGo Oct 15 '13 at 1:35
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@Coelacanth: If I disapproved, it would have been gone by now. ;-) Good work, and thank you. –  Pieter Geerkens Oct 15 '13 at 5:19
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