A History of Women in the Military

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American women have been involved in the military since the Revolutionary War in 1775, whether it be through civilian services or fighting in battles (albeit disguised as men). But the female branch of the United States Army didn’t officially exist until 1942. After the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt officially signed the bill in law on May 15, authorizing the creation of the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. It wasn’t until a year later, however, that the word „auxiliary“ was dropped and women were given the same opportunities as their male counterparts. While women still face personal and professional challenges within the Armed Forces—from higher rates of sexual harassment and assault to gender-specific restrictions and discrimination—women remain an integral part of the military and continue to push toward equality. In celebration of the 77th anniversary of women officially becoming recognized in the Army, CR looks back on the history of women’s involvement in the Armed Forces over the years.

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