20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Work Harder

Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
During World War II, some eight million American women entered the workforce, bringing the total number of U.S. women working outside the home to over 19 million. Women also found new work in male-dominated fields that needed to fill positions left by men who were serving overseas. While we often think primarily of the iconic factory worker Rosie the Riveter, WWII-era women actually filled positions in all sectors of the economy, both in private and public industry.
When the war came to an end and men returned home, the U.S. government encouraged women to stop working and focus their attention on housekeeping and raising children. But even though women faced limited career opportunities once again, things never entirely went back to the way they were prewar. In fact, many historians credit the working conditions during World War II with opening up the paths for both desegregation and the modern women's rights movement.

Recently, Yale University released a digitized collection of over 170,000 government photographs from 1935-45, including many images of the real-life Rosies of World War II, taken in 1943. In honor of Veteran's Day, we've rounded up some of our favorite images of these inspiring women. Your grandma was a total badass, and we've got the pictures to prove it.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Hortense W. Thompson was one of several women freight handlers employed at the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway freight depot.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Joilet Jones on her first day as a tollbooth operator in Queens. The job was formerly held by a man, before he joined the military.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Kathryn M. Miller, a former hosiery mill employee, was the first female laborer to qualify to operate the "tricky" electric trucks for the Reading Company. According to the photo's caption, Miller "doesn't mind the cold at all."
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Ruth DeRoche and Norma Webber, both only 18, take a lunch break from their job working as "pit women" at a sawmill operated by the U.S. department of agriculture.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Two more female welders pose for a picture. (In addition to Rosie the Riveter, there was also a short-lived character named "Wendy the Welder.")
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
If you look closely, you'll see that this woman's hat says "trainman." The caption to the photograph notes that many women in the Philadelphia area replaced "trainmen" who were serving in the military.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Female "milkman" Pearl Jones, of Bryn Mawr, PA, delivers milk for the Suplee-Wills-Jones Milk Company.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Women look for defective bullets at a factory in New Britain, CT.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
A woman who had been busy "welding the ejection chutes of 50-caliber machine guns" pauses for a picture.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
This woman in Beaumont, TX, managed to look chic even when working as a mechanic for the city's buses.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Gladys Chase of Buffalo, NY, was formerly a beautician before she became a scarfer — a job that involved six months of training to learn how to use a burning torch to remove imperfections from steel billets.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
There's a lot to love about this image of Helen McCabe, one of the female bus drivers in Beaumont, TX, en route to a refinery. We'd love to have her drop by our offices.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Esther O'Hara, 26, is quoted as saying she prefers trimming machine gun barrels to housework. We believe her!
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Not only could female bus drivers do their jobs well, they also looked great in the uniforms. Love the hats, ladies.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Many women — like this worker at the International Creosoting plant in Beaumont, TX — were involved in strenuous manual labor for the war effort.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Here, women put the finishing touches on a flag at a New Jersey factory.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Fern Evans, who lost her husband at Pearl Harbor, worked at an aircraft plant during the war while raising her young son alone.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
This young woman, identified only as "Queenie," attended a work-study program at Bethune-Cookman College with the National Youth Administration, a government program that trained young men and women to enter the workforce. She planned on working at a defense plant in Connecticut after graduating from the program.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
Two women assemble a giant bomber at an aircraft factory.
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Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection
The caption for this photo reads, "Not only as nurses behind the battle lines, but as workers in the factory producing important war goods, women are doing much to win this war and to spare the lives of the men doing the actual fighting." These two were working on fuel tanks for military aircraft.
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