Women’s Army Corps: Marching into History
March 20 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Discover how women in World War II ushered in new economic and social changes that would forever alter the role of women in American society.
Following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States mobilized for war. The Women’s Army Corps brought women into the effort.
Female Soldiers were lauded for their professionalism and commitment. However, as the war dragged on and women’s roles expanded, social pressure to conform to traditional gender roles challenged WAC Soldiers. Some women, burned out by the intensity of wartime service, looked forward to a post-war life built on domesticity. Others hoped to transition into civilian jobs. A few would have liked to build Army careers. A society that accepted women in emergency wartime service proved resistant to permanent change.
Women’s military service was scheduled to end with the war. Recognizing women’s valuable service, military leaders lobbied Congress to make it permanent. In 1948, President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. The Act granted women the right to serve as permanent, regular members in all four branches of the military.
Since 1948, the scope of women’s military service has expanded. Today, all military occupational specialties, including combat roles, are open to women. Women’s World War II military service kicked open the door that generations of female Soldiers have since marched through.
This event is co-hosted with the National Museum of the United States Army. It will be live-streamed in our Friends Room.