Women’s History Newspaper: Women in the Military

Published: 2021/12/28
Number of words: 1304


Active involvement of women in the U.S. military can be traced from the Revolutionary War. However, those women had to use charade to appear as men. The ones who were accepted to serve as soldiers performed an auxiliary function. In the 20th century, the Pentagon realized that gender did not matter a lot on the battlefield. It is from then that the full integration of women into the military service officially started and a significant number of females joined the leadership positions. This paper seeks to examine history, facts, and statistics about women who had served as soldiers in the USA. Also, the essay discusses the activities of specific organizations intended to help women veteran soldiers in shaping their lives after retirement. The acceptance of Women into the military service has been a continuous activity spanning from Revolutionary War up to the 21st century with the significant changes in roles.

Historical Facts and Statistics

The women soldiers’ history can be categorized with the use of major wars, such as the Revolutionary War, Mexican War, World Wars, the 20th century, and the current involvement. Women disguised themselves as men during Mexican, Revolutionary, and Civil Wars. For example, Deborah Garnett served as the first woman in the military in 1782 (Infoplease par. 2). In her role, she assumed the name of her brother, Samson Robert, a Continental Army serviceman. She was wounded twice during her service, but she still managed to conceal her sex during treatment. In 847, Elizabeth Newcume served in the Mexican War, and she used to wear male attire. She was discharged in 1848 when her sex was disclosed. Later, she was compensated for her services. During the Civil War, several women served in the military disguised as men, for example, Sarah Wakeman who later on died at the hospital during New Orleans War. In sum, women were not accepted to serve in the military during the early wars.

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The USA Marine and Navy registered more than 12000 women to serve in World War I where about 400 of them died. Others worked in Red Cross and other firms. About 24% of women had been absorbed in aviation plant workers when the war ended. World War II recorded a total of 350,000 women who served in the USA military (Infoplease par. 6). In 1942, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was established with over 150,000 females serving as soldiers. In the same year, the U.S. Navy recruited many women to help as guards and stateside. About 85% of all personnel were women working at the USA Marine Corps Headquarters. This number increased because many men were sent to the battlefield. Women Air Force Service was established in 1943 to serve stateside while men were working overseas. The World Wars statistical data manifest a significant growth in the share of women compared to the previous wars.

The role of women in the military changed substantially in the late 20th century. The changes in war methods were imminent in the 1990s due to the invention of new warfare weapons such as missiles and bombs. Therefore, the frontline tact was not feasible. In 1990, 360 women were on board heading to the Persian Gulf for war, and it marked the first time women were accepted to ride alongside men in warfare. However, women suffered a setback when Les Aspin, the Secretary of Defense, ruled against women’s participation in combat. Regardless of this rule, several women performed active functions in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2005, Leigh Hester received a Silver Star for her skills in close-quarter combat. In particular, she used grenades to fight enemies in Iraq in a firefight. Those examples demonstrate not only the role of women in the military has reinforced within that period, but also the acknowledgment of their achievements.

In the most recent updated data, America’s Promise Alliance illustrates that women’s composition is 14.4% of active duty force in the U.S. In the minority category, women comprise about 18%. California state has the highest number of both reserve and guard troops totaling to 58,844. This improvement came amid the 2012 Pentagon announcement to include women in the battalions (Trilling par. 1-3). As a result, several women were assigned to work in critical jobs, such as medics, tank mechanics, and other relevant areas. In 2015, Pentagon announced that all sectors were open for any woman who would like to serve. This declaration marked the start of equality in absorbing women in key military positions.

Organizations in Support to Women Veterans

Some organizations are currently in place to aid women veterans to recover from their problems. Several institutions are intended to help veterans so that they can live normal lives. These institutions include Women Veterans Network, Army Women’s Foundation, Women Veteran ROCK, Center for Women Veterans, and many more. In particular, California has played a significant role as it ranks top in military deployment in the U.S. Therefore, the California Association of Veteran Service Agencies (CAVSA) was created to help in the transition of the service members to civilians and to promote their compassionate treatment. CAVSA offers many services. First, it helps reconstruct the lives of women through economic empowerment. Homeless veterans in California make 6% of the total number nationwide with females three times greater than civilian peers. Other roles include averting drug addiction and psychological disorders and improving the accessibility of medication.

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A success story about Mary Kennedy Thompson is one inspiring on how female veterans can turn their lives around after military service. Thompson started Cookies by Design business. That enterprise was just the beginning as she went ahead and added the other three franchises in three years (Mielach par. 1-3). Later, in 2004, Thompson became the president of Cookies by Design, and then, chosen as the Mr. Rooter Plumbing’s president. Thompsons credited her leadership prowess to the marine where she worked as a soldier. A second female veteran success story features Phyllis Newhouse, a former service-disabled military veteran. Newhouse founded Extreme Solutions in 2002 and became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) (Mitchel par. 1-6). The company is one of the fastest growing women-owned enterprises in the USA. On the whole, Thompson’s and Newhouse’s cases offer encouraging true-story upon which female veterans can use to begin their businesses and become self-reliant.


Integration of Women into the armed forces has been a continuous activity from the Revolutionary War up to date. Notably, the equality in recruitment in the current military structures can be attributed to the need for justice as well as to the change in war methods elicited by technological advancements. In particular, soldiers no longer use frontline combat due to the invention of warfare equipment such as missiles. Veterans institutions across the USA have assisted retired women veterans in turning around their lives. There is a CAVSA organization in California, which has aided not only women veteran soldiers but also men. Significant areas of concern for these institutions include economic empowerment, drug addiction therapy, education, gradual integration into the society, and psychiatric counseling.

Works Cited

America’s Promise Alliance. “U.S. Military Demographics.” Americaspromise.org, n.d., www.americaspromise.org/us-military-demographics. Accessed 7 March 2019.

Infoplease. “A History of Women in the U.S. Military.” Infoplease.com, 2018, www.infoplease.com/us/military-affairs/history-women-us-military. Accessed 7 March 2019.

Trilling, David. “Who Serves in the Military: Parsing Pentagon data.” Journalist’s Resource, 1 June 2017, www.journalistsresource.org/studies/government/security-military/who-serves-in-the-military-pentagon/. Accessed 7 March 2019.

Mielach, David. “How the Military Prepares Veterans to Start a Business.” Business News Daily, 11 Nov. 2012, www.businessnewsdaily.com/3404-veterans-entrepreneurs.html. Accessed 21 March 2019.

Mitchel, Cynthia. “Phyllis W. Newhouse, XSI CEO, Named EY Entrepreneur of the Year – Technology Category Award Winner.” Extreme Solutions Inc., 03 April 2018, www.xtremesolutions-inc.com/my-first-blog-post. Accessed 21 March 2019.

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