Sexual Tolerance-Women in the Military

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Women have been less than happy with societal gender roles since the mid 1800s. Women not only had zero rights, they were simply viewed as their husbands’ property. of their husbands. They had no didn’t have access to education, causing themwere made to be fully dependent upon their husbands financially, unable to work due to lack of education or no work experience. , and Iif they were allowed to work, they were paid significantly less than their male coworkers.

In the 1960s, women were able to make a lasting mark on history that is now referred to as , which is what is known in the history books as the Sexual Revolution.

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Women were not only given a voice during this time, and they used that voice to not only demand,, but work hard for equal rights and the same employment opportunities as their male counterparts. Since then, women have gone from simple homemakers to doctors, politicians, business leaders, and have become as well as holders of some of the highest-ranking positions in the United States military.

Although they were not allowed to be permanent, Active duty members, women, fFrom the 1700 to 1800, forced their way into women found a way to servinge in the military., even though they weren’t allowed to be permanent, Active Duty members. During the time of the Revolutionary War, a period ranging fFrom 1775- 1783, the time of the Revolutionary War, some women chose to serve inthe military in the camps as nurses, cooks, and laundresses. George Washington even assembled a spy ring known as , called the Culper Spy Ring, that also enlisted the help of female spies.

This includes Agent 355,355; whose true identity is still unknown. What is known is that since 355 was a code for woman however, but she made her mark on history by obtaining and reporting damning information about Benedict Arnold’s suspected treason, as well as information that led to the arrest of John Andre, a British intelligence officer. Deborah Sampson, another woman who made herin mark in military history, served in George Washington’s army as Robert Shurtleff, her true identity was not known until she was hurt on the battlefield.

Women’s mark in military history didn’tdid not stop in the 1700s, their efforts continued to grow as they strived to serve in every compacity that was available to them. it continued to grow as women made more efforts to serve in every compacity that they could. Women even served under the identities of men dDuring the 1800s, more women served under the identities of men. Among those women, was Elizabeth Newcom, who served in the Mexican War in the Missouri Volunteer Infantry under the name Bill Newcom.

There was also Cathay Williams, the first African-American female to enlist in the Army as a Buffalo Soldier, under the name of William Cathey. During the Civil War era, In 1861 when the Civil War started, Mary Edwards Walker, also a well-known women’s rights advocate for women’s rights, not only became the first female surgeon in the U.S. Army. , To this day, she was then and is now the only woman ever awarded the Medal of Honor for Meritorious Service. Nearing the end of the 1800s, Dduring the Spanish-American War, approximately 1500 civilian women served in the military. Some served in Stateside Army hospitals, as others served as spies, support staff, disguised as men, soldiers (TIMELINE: A History of Women, 2017).

The 1900s brought about some great change for women anxious to serve their country. Congress decided to passed a bill for a more permanent appointment for women who wanted to serve. This bill through the establishedment of the Army Nurse Corps, and a few years later the Navy Nurse Corps. In 1917, Lena Highbee received a Navy Cross for her service in the Navy Nurse Corps during World War I. During World War II, the Military dynamics saw an even bigger change during World War II as changed more and more women were allowed to serve officially in noncombat roles, not just as nurses, but also as ambulance drivers, pilots, clerks, and mechanics.

Hundreds of women also served in the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency, as field agents. On June 12, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill to pass The Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, allowing women to serve as permanent members of the military, and not just during war time. instead of only at times of war. Where this was a great achievement, Tthe law still limited the number of women allowed to serve to two percent of the total force of each branch of service.

Women continued to serve during the Korean War, as well as the Vietnam War. During these wars, wWomen received also got their first acceptance into four of the five service academies. , Ssailors and Marines were allowed to serve on non-combat ships, and over 40,000 servicewomen were deployed to the Middle East in support of Desert Storm. In 1991,1 during the Desert Storm,, women received the authorization from Congress to serve in combat missions and on combat ships. Female fighter pilots flewfly for the first time and Captain Kathleen McGrath of the United States Navy becomes the first woman to serve as become the commanding officer of rescue and salvage ship, Recovery.

The greatest marks made in the history of service for women were done in the 21st century. 2000s have made the greatest mark in the history of service for women. By the rescinding of certain policies that excluded women from service onboard submarines and other combat operations, women were now able to allowed to make a larger footprint in the history of the military;. Due to it is because of the rescinding of the exclusion policy, was able I was able to serve in a squadron deployed to the Middle East.

Colonel Linda McTague became the first woman to command an American National Guard flying squadron. , Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester and Specialist Monica Brown become the first women to earn the Silver Stars in Iraq and Afghanistan since World War II. These changes also allowed General Ann Dunwoody to be the first woman to receive the rank of four-star officer. During 2011, female officers deployed on a submarine for the first time and two female officers of the newly formed Cultural Support Teams, died during direct combat.

Navy Admiral Michelle Howard became the first female four-star admiral, inspiring many women to believe that equal opportunity is more than just “talk.” In 2015, three female soldiers became the first to graduate from Army Ranger school, earning the respect of their peers by demonstrating their willingness to help out their male counterparts during training.

In 2016, a woman also became the first female soldier to join the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, which is said to be the hardest challenges one will ever face. Captain Kristen Griest, who is also one of the first three women to graduate Ranger school, becamebecomes the Army’s first female infantry officer, as, and Sergeant Shelby Atkins becomes the first enlisted infantry soldier. The following year three female Marines also become became the first females to serve in their 1st Battalion, 8th Marines in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Prior to being Since before they were allowed to openly serve in the military, women have been making their mark on history. First by serving under male pseudonyms, then by using their nature as caretakers to service their country. From there, the possibilities were limitless as they continued to stress towards excellence and claim every title, role, and responsibility allotted to them. These women sacrificed themselves and their lives, to allow opportunity for those behind them. They kicked the necessary changes in gear and opened doors for their predecessors to push towards a higher mark. Their courage and strength could not be denied, and because of this, they gained their place in the portion of history that is branded, The Sexual Revolution.


  1. TIMELINE: A History of Women in the US Military. (8 Mar 2017). Retrieved from
  2. Who is Agent 355? (3 Mar 2008). Retrieved from
  3. Eisenberg, B. & Ruthsdotter, M. (1998). Retrieved from
  4. Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. (5 Jan 2019). Retrieved from
  6. Pruitt, S. OSS: The Predecessor of the CIA. (28 Oct 2016). Retrieved from
  7. Capt. Kathleen McGrath, 50, Pioneering Warship Commander. (1 Oct 2002). Retrieved from
  8. Schogol, J. First female infantry Marines joining battalion on Thursday. (3 Jan 2017). Retrieved from
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Sexual Tolerance-Women in the Military. (2019, Oct 23). Retrieved from