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NCR Diversity, Equity and Inclusions News #36 - March 2023

March 1, 2023

NCR Diversity, Equity and Inclusion #36 – March 2023
Cultural Observances, Awareness Information and Events

Women’s History Month

The Progress of Women Warriors

Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
Women supported the fight as seamstresses, cooks, and nurses at camps for soldiers.  Some women warriors disguised themselves as men to voluntarily serve as spies or fight on the frontlines.

Civil War (1861-1865)
Civil War marked the first time in American history that women played a significant role in war.  Nearly 20,000 women served in this war, with about 3,000 as nurses in battlefield hospitals and 1,000 or so disguised as men to fight in combat.

World War I (1914-1918)
Women were allowed to enlist, but still not allowed to vote or fight in combat.  More than 35,000 women enlisted to serve in the military, with about 25,00 serving overseas.  Most women in the military were members of the Army Nurse Corps, others served as secretaries, switchboard and radio operators, administrators and architects.   The U.S. Army Signal Corps enlisted women to work as bilingual French-speaking telephone operators, known as the “Hello Girls”.

World War II (1939-1945)
This was the first time all branches of the U.S. military enlisted women in their ranks.  About 350,000 women served in uniform to “free a man to fight.”  The majority were nurses, but others served in new non-combat roles such as drivers, mechanics, cryptographers, parachute riggers and even pilots for the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).

Korean and Vietnam Wars (1950-1975)
During the Korean War, 120,000 women served in active-duty positions, including new roles as military police officers and engineers.  About 11,000 women served in a Southeast Asian country.  During Vietnam, President Lyndon B. Johnson opened promotions for women to generals and flag ranks and command units that included men.

The 80s, 90s, and post-9/11
Women continued to break down gender barriers and overcome the many challenges they faced for equality.  There are many “firsts” for women in the military, such as the first women to receive the honor for direct combat action.  In 2016, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, lifted the ban on women in combat, and all military occupations and positions opened without exception.

Women warriors continue to face challenges such as not being seen as a veteran although women veterans make up over 10% of the overall veteran population.


Did You Know?

Why Do We Celebrate Women’s History Month?

In 1978, the Celebration of Women’s History Month grew out of a weeklong celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history and society organized by a school in California.  A few years later, the idea caught on within communities, schools and organizations across the U.S.

In 1980, President Jimmie Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week.  The U.S. Congress followed suit the next year, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration.  Six years later, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March. 

Every woman has a story to tell and gifts to share with the world.

Celebrate women’s history month by supporting women chase their dreams.


Lt. Col. Bonnie Braun
NCR Diversity Officer

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