Women in the U.S. Military

Women have served in the U.S. military throughout its history — either officially or unofficially — in both supporting roles and as combatants. Prior to World War I, women served primarily in the roles of nurse, physician, laundress, armament worker, communications support, as well as combatant. In 1901, women began officially serving in the U.S. Army and in the Navy in 1909. [Ref.] After World War I, women’s participation came to be regarded as a necessity rather than just an option during times of crisis. Since then, the numbers of women in the U.S. military has grown and female service members, who play broad and pivotal roles in military operations, are achieving milestones that put them increasingly on par with their male counterparts.