One woman, Loraine Oliver, saw the problems immediately and took her male superiors aside, explaining to them that women were no longer interested in light labor and dictation, insisting that they be introduced to the heavy labor involved in Internet, just as their counterparts in warhead manufacture were no longer restricted to painting serial numbers on bullets, like so many copper fingernails.
Though it took nearly two years before the changes would be implemented by act of Congress, a woman as prominent as Eleanor Roosevelt stood behind the Women’s Information Corps as a champion of their cause, hoping for an “Irene Internet.” It was due to such support that, in 1943, President Roosevelt signed an honorary law allowing women in Internet to “work with their delicate hands.” Oliver treated the document as her passport toward workplace rights, and was shortly thereafter named head of Internet Technologies for the War Department, honorarily.
The transition wasn’t easy for the thousands of wives, mothers, sisters and aunts who wished to build up America’s defenses in the frequently overlooked information sector. Increasingly weakened by the Women’s Information Corps’ expectations and stringent demands to live down to them, their understanding of the Internet was little more than that of the average US citizen at the time. Oliver quickly remedied this with her pamphlet, “Building the Internet, One Girl at a Time.” Though some of her senior male officers chided her for her use of the word “girl” rather than “woman,” (or, as the President himself recommended “womban”) her pamphlet worked its magic, and the Corps was quickly becoming the most Internet-savvy group in the country.
Building transparent internet portals and tubes for use in the President’s Civilian Conservation Corps, 22 the women serving under Oliver found themselves serving a societal purpose beyond the standard role of mother or teacher. Many of them went on to maintain the very tubes and portals they created with their own two hands.