Because of social ideas about the female experience, women have often been written out of military history. Yet, women’s patriotic duty, no less than men’s have inspired hundreds of thousands of women to support their country during our times of need. Whether playing a supportive role as water bearers, cooks, laundresses, nurses or as active military (often having to pass as men).
In our recent history women not only continue in vital support roles as nurses, but also in combat as field commanders and as officers. The bravery of countless women since the establishment of our great country gives us a legacy of strength and persistence. Continue reading from National Women's History Alliance
When the United States declared war on the Empire of Japan in December 1941, and then Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, the only American women in uniform were members of the Army Nurse Corps and Navy Nurse Corps. Each service branch eventually opened to women, and by the end of the war, over 350,000 women wore American service uniforms. Though they did not serve in combat roles, 432 women were killed and 88 taken prisoner. Continue reading from The National World War II Museum
In January 2013 then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta rather unexpectedly lifted the ban on women in combat roles. This came after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan where women had distinguished themselves in many ways—not the least of which included combat. The debate on the implementation of this decision has since raged, raising questions about physical standards and the impact on unit cohesion, among other things. The last few years have also witnessed a necessary discussion about the outrageous frequency of sexual assaults within military organizations. These debates—for good and bad—have placed gender issues in relation to military organizations high on the agenda of public debate. Continue reading from PRISM