Image Credits: U.S. Army
Though the military is typically seen as a male-dominated occupation and lifestyle, women throughout history have proved that stereotype to be false. Hundreds of years ago, it was forbidden for women to serve in noncombat positions. Nowadays, it isn’t unusual to see a woman to set her pursuits on military service. Through hard work and determination, women eventually earned the same rights and respect of their fellow male comrades.
One of the first women to ever (illegally) serve in the US military was Deborah Sampson. She disguised herself as a man to serve with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. After being shot in the leg, she removed the bullet herself to make sure that her gender was not revealed. Despite this, her secret eventually came out and she was honorably discharged. Additionally, after a tough fight, she also received a military pension.
When World War I and World War II arrived, women stepped up and enlisted in the Navy and Marine Corps, taking on “traditional” roles such as nursing, administration, and logistics. The need for women was immense, as hundreds of thousands of American lives were lost in both of the wars. Women eventually started to become essential to the success of national defense.
In 1948 Congress passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. This granted women permanent status in the military and gave them access to veteran’s benefits. However, women’s advancement in the military was not yet finished.
In 1976, women were granted the right to attend the US service academies to pursue degrees in military science and eventually become officers.