When it comes to serving one’s country, it took a lot to get women to where they are today. Throughout the years, women have been fighting to move up the ranks in the military. It took a long time, but finally, women can now enroll and serve their country in any rank or position.
Women have always held a role in the United States military, however for the majority of the time, the roles never involved combat. These women who wanted to serve were confined to jobs as washwoman, cooks, medical caregivers/nurses, seamstresses, and laudresses in the 18th and 19th century. These military roles were mainly taken part during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.
Once World War l came around, women still were mainly just nurses. However, the women not already working medical positions were to enlist in the armed forces. During this time, most still served in a voluntary area. A select few ended up being hired by different branches of the military for work and aide in clerical positions. 35,000 women and counting served in the army during WW I.
During WW ll, women were once again recruited for the army. This time not only to be a nurse, or work in a clerical position, but to be hired as a weather forecaster, telephone operator, or linguists.
As time went went on, some faced a lot of hardships while being a part of the army. Congress decided to allow women to legitimately enlist in the Army of the United States. Because of the Women’s Army Corps, in 1943, women could attain a military rank and serve overseas.
Women served valiantly in WW ll. They were mocked, sexually harassed, and stigmatized. Through all that, they served bravely and some received medals and citations of their contributions. However, every woman who served was not considered a veteran or given benefits.
A few years later because of sexism in the military, in 1948, President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act into law. This meant letting women serve as full and permanent members in all branches of the U.S. military. However, women were still restricted. This act limited the number of women who could serve. This left only 2% to be women in the military. At this point, it would take years to get women to where they needed to be equally.
Slowly but surely, Women’s roles did expand from where they were. By the time it was 1970, women in the military could rise to command roles in non-combat units. Along with this, women and men began to train together.
In the year of 2013, women finally achieved full status in the U.S. military. They could now serve in combat roles. However, this did raise a new global question; should women be required to register for the draft?