This Veteran’s Day, I thought it would be important to highlight the history of women in the military and write a tribute to women who serve and have served around the world.
Before 1948, the thought of women training for active combat was deemed impossible. Women were only given small roles in World War II and were expected to rejoin civilian life post-war. At first, women were only accepted into the Army through a program known as Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), created in 1943. However, after World War II, recruitment for the military became incredibly difficult, and Congress finally allowed women to enlist in the Army, serve overseas and obtain a military ranking. While women worked diligently during the war efforts, they were often mocked and put down by men. Sexual assault was common, as well as unequal pay and benefits. Men were also known to not want to serve alongside women.
After the war, women found themselves jobless and out of focus. Employers often did not hire them because they believed their sexual immorality would be inappropriate for the workplace as it was rumored that women traded sex for a higher military ranking. Not only were women not considered veterans, but it also took years for women to regain their pre-war employment.
In 1948, things changed. President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act that allowed women to serve as full and consistent members of every branch in the military. While this all sounds positively life-changing, it actually made it easier for men to restrict women in the military. Women that had children could be discharged and not every woman could become an officer or serve in combat. Things took a sharp turn in 1970 when men and women were able to work in non-combat training units. In 2013 (Wow, that’s six years ago), women did the damn thing and received full status! Since then, women have gained more and more opportunities to join different fields in the military.
To be honest, it’s sad that our county took this long to decide that women were “fit” for this job. When I was growing up, my mother and stepmom were women who served in the military, achieving high rankings. They served as role models for me and taught me a lot about resiliency and sacrifice. My mother and stepmom both served over twenty years, and if that doesn’t tell you something, then it should: Women can do anything! While unequal pay still exists, it’s important to take the time to recognize the rise of women in the military and women in general. It’s time that women have a huge takeover and show men just how well we perform!
Women have made persistent progress and continue to show off! We are often belittled and demeaned into believing we are not capable of being successful in certain careers and lifestyles. If you want to do something and think you can’t, think again. Don’t let a man, or anyone else, tell you differently. To the women who have served our country or continue to serve, give yourself a pat on the back for this accomplishment. And for the women interested in serving our country, do it! Defy the odds and do what you love.
If a man can do it, so can a woman! So, if you see someone who has served in the military, especially another woman, be sure to thank her for her service and make her day!
Women don’t stop, and we won’t stop! Thank you to all the women that have served and are serving our country gracefully, we appreciate you!