A Historical Look at Women's Roles in the Military

In ancient times among some peoples such as so call barbarian tribes and nations women fought alongside the men.

A Historical Look at Women's Roles in the Military

Some rose to great fame and commanded nations, armies and navies like Boudica, Joan of Arc, Artemisia, Grace O'Malley and others.

A Historical Look at Women's Roles in the MilitaryBoudicia

A Historical Look at Women's Roles in the Military

Grace O'Malley

A Historical Look at Women's Roles in the Military

Joan Of Arc

World War 1

It was during the first world war that women were mobilized in unprecedented numbers mostly to replace the men in industrial and agricultural work who were conscripted to fight. Tens of Thousands of women served as nurses in the military behind the lines in every theatre.A Historical Look at Women's Roles in the Military

Russia was the only country to use female soldiers. Its few "Women's Battalions" fought well, In the later Russian Civil War, the Bolsheviks would also employ women infantry.

Individual women would fight in various revolutions and conflicts between ww1&ww2.

World War 2

More women were mobilised than ever during WW2 espicially in factories and agricultural. Women played ever more important roles in the military freeing up more men for combat duties these roles included administration, nurses, truck drivers, mechanics, electricians, and auxiliary pilots but also 700,000 served in combat roles mostly as Anti-aircraft gunners. In Britain women had important roles such as aircraft controllers which was so important during the Battle of Britain, as spies and radio operators for SOE parachuting into nazi occupied Europe, or as decoders, decripting the German enigma code and interpreting aerial photographs.

Even future Queen Elizabeth served as a driver/mechanic in the British Army.
A Historical Look at Women's Roles in the Military

United States.

In all, 350,000 American women served in the U.S. military during World War II. Women didn't have some of the roles in the military that women had in Britain but they greatly helped the war effort. But language speicialists did help intelligence agencies greatly. Women also were greatly involved as decoders with MAGIC and were parachuted into occupied Europe as OSS spies like their British counterparts. A large number of American women served as Nurses all over the world in the US military during WW2.

Russia.

More than 800,000 women served in the Soviet Armed Forces during the war, which is roughly 3 percent of total military personnel, mostly as medics. About 300,000 served in anti-aircraft units and performed all functions in the batteries—including firing the guns. Some Russian women also served as bomber pilots the most famous of these were called the Night Witches.

Famously the Soviet Union also deployed women as snipers on the brutal eastern front. One of these was Lyudmila Mikhailovna Pavlichenko credited with 309 kills. She is regarded as one of the top military snipers of all time and the most successful female sniper in history.

Other countries.

Other countries employed women in various roles which I won't go into but Britain, America and the Soviet union were the major users of women in the military.

Post WW2.

Israel

Israel has been a big user of women in the military since its birth. Current women are conscripted into the military just like the men and combat roles have long been open to women.

Vietnam

In Vietnam thousands of women fought french and American troops in the Vietcong.

Cold war and post cold war US military.

During the cold war women gained more roles in the military for instance In 1974, the first six women aviators earned their wings as Navy pilots, On December 20, 1989, Captain Linda L. Bray, 29, became the first woman to command American soldiers in battle, during the invasion of Panama. Over 40,000 women served in almost every role the armed forces had to offer in the 1991 Gulf War which was a pivotal time for women in the US armed forces.

Afganistan and Iraq.

Women's roles in the military have changed dramatically since 2001 with more roles open to women. A Historical Look at Women's Roles in the Military

During the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, more than two hundred thousand women served, of which 152 were killed; of those 84 were killed by enemy action. During the Afghanistan War, American soldier Monica Lin Brown, was presented the Silver Star for shielding wounded soldiers with her body, and then treating life-threatening injuries.

In 2008, Ann Dunwoody became a four-stargeneral in the Army, making her the first woman in U.S. military and uniformed service history to achieve a four-star officer rank. In 2011, Major General Margaret H. Woodward commanded Operation Odyssey Dawn's air component in Libya, making her the first woman to command a U.S. combat air campaign. In 2012, Janet C. Wolfenbarger became the first female four-star general in the Air Force.

Michelle J. Howard began her assignment as the U.S. Navy's first female (and first African-American female) four-star admiral on July 1, 2014. In December 2015, Defense Secretary Ash Carter stated that starting in 2016 all combat jobs would open to women. In March 2016, Ash Carter approved final plans from military service branches and the U.S. Special Operations Command to open all combat jobs to women, and authorized the military to begin integrating female combat soldiers "right away."

Women have been in combat since 2001 in both Iraq and afganistan not as frontline infantry soldiers but as drivers in convoys and other non infantry roles but combat is not just on the frontlines. Now that combat roles in the infantry are open to women the real question is can they be as effective as men. A big hinderance is the weight of the gear an infantry soldier must carry which includes a rifle, body armor, ammo and pack etc which weighs between between 60 and 100 pounds and the average woman at 5.3ft weighs 168.5 pounds. Male infantry soldiers are currently having trouble with injuries to their backs, feet, ankles and knees from humping that gear for miles while training and on deployment so it must be worse for women as we are biologically weaker physically. I'm all for women in the infantry provided the bar is not lowered for us due to our gender.

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.military.com/daily-news/2017/05/17/army-marine-corps-look-lighten-load-combat-troops.html/amp




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Most Helpful Guy

  • It’s great to have women in the military but there are jobs that women cannot do because of bilological differences especially in the frontlines

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    • At the moment yes

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    • I agree. The point is they are not lowering the bar I dont think for female personnel in the infantry.

    • The problem is they are

Most Helpful Girl

  • There were female freedom fighters in 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh as well.

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What Guys Said 39

  • Ir is a mistake to categorically claim that women are physically inferior to men and, therefore, should not be allowed in combat. There are many women who are at least as big and strong as the lower rung males who are combat qualified.

    I am not in favor of drafting women into the military but, if they want to enlist and they can compete physically, I would not prevent them from being placed in combat roles.

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    • Same here as long as they can meet the same physical requirements, but in a time of crisis the option to draft women may be needed so it's debatable

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    • @castratedwhiteguy look it up. Only about 15% of the US military are infantry roles.

  • Yes, woman have done great feats of battle and should be treated equally.

    There is an issue about sexual assault and rape within our military communities, that needs to be worked out.

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  • great take. it's so important to realize that women in combat roles is not new. obviously a person's fitness for combat should always be considered; however, that consideration should be made regardless of sex. if a person is fit and wants to serve there is absolutely no reason why they sex should stand in the way

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  • There were also Onna Bugeisha who would assist Samurai in battles. Another group of women that almost nobody knows about are the Japanese-American women that served in the Women’s army corps (WAC) during WWII. The WAC wasn’t a combat role though, the combat roles were given to the Japanese-American males (442nd RCT and MIS).

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  • Women should be able to choose their own role. I wouldn't force them to serve on the front line but I wouldn't prohibit it either. What women lack in physical strength they frequently make up for in determination and common sense.

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    • Wait a minute, man would be 'forced' to serve on frontlines why wouldn't women? She chose to join the military, where is the equality in that? Death is death regardless of gender.

    • @ArgonYsellian no one has been conscripted in most modern armies for a long time.

  • With guns, women can do as much damage as men. Otherwise no, they can't. In combat sports they have separate divisions for men and women for good reason - the women would get destroyed. They're nowhere near as strong as men.

    These ideas are mostly encouraged by people who want this to be true, feminists especially. But in order to do so they have to ignore biology and other historical evidence. The fact that so many people are so easily fooled by this is mind-boggling.

    For example, Lagertha. A woman from a fictional TV series representing the idea of "shield maidens". There's no way a 120lb woman is gonna win a sword fight with a man twice her size. That's not what shieldmaidens were. In his book Germania, written about Germanic tribes, Tacitus wrote that the women would accompany their men to battle to cheer them on. One of the biggest motivations for those men was to protect their women for fear of them being taken by the rival tribe if they lost. The women would also have spare weapons and shields should their men lose theirs - that's a shieldmaiden. Not a fighter, that would be ridiculous.

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    • Women certainly did fight with the men that's not in doubt mostly to lend numbers. Winning a sword battle is not dependant on size or strength but on skill.

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    • Yeah, the examples you're giving are well trained women vs not so well trained men, of the same size. Most men are bigger than most women. But the average woman vs the average man of the same size and she'll lose most of the time. Put her against the average guy who is bigger than her, which most are, then she'll lose even quicker. Out those trained women against guys twice her size, the strength difference will be too big for her to win unless she's lucky. If she does win she's not gonna repeat that again and again. It's a biological fact that men are much stronger, we're build for combat whereas women are build to carry and nurture children. Female warriors especially back then make no sense. Like I said, to think thats true you have to deny biological reality and have little experienve in actual combat. As I mentioned before they were there to encourage the men to win and to give them spare weapons.

    • True but it's not a contest of physical strength, it doesn't matter how strong you are a blade ends the fight.

  • I love when the socially conservatives said that the women should not belong in the military but they failed to look at history

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    • The ones that say women shouldn't work instead stay at home like pre 1950's housewives and not work failing to realise that historically women have been part of the work force since the industrial revolution and back before that even.

    • Well they have a much lower IQ, so anything that they would say is stupid lol

    • I must have triggered three of them lol

  • ladyimperium.wordpress.com/.../

    One of the problems with women in combat is they are going against nature to do so. (Sure, there are some exceptions you showed, especially WWII Russia where nearly all the men were wiped out.) But they're exceptions and not the rule. There's a reason why there hasn't been any well-known female special forces, because there aren't enough women wanting to do that kind of dangerous work. Men and women have wildly different goals in life and how they view power is one example of why women are terrible in positions of power is they are typically short-sighted or solipsistic in their use of power. Angela Merkel of Germany being an example of a terrible modern leader.

    Again, there are exceptions, but if women were better at running the world or fighting, they could've been doing so for thousands of years at least in some tribe or nation like the fantasy of Wonder Woman, but no such nation exists.

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    • You realise women are basically running Europe

    • And you see how that's working out... Muslims are coming in and taking over everything. It will be a different continent in 20 years.

  • Personally I am not for women in the military at least not in combat roles to be quite frank females are physically inferior and not mentally not suited for combat or the horrors of war.

    Now obviously that will not be the case with every single woman but that is the case for the vast majority. In my opinion that standards need to be higher then what they are and not lowered.

    Women are better suited for roles that cater to their more maternal mental state and better multitasking abilities, such as medical and communications. If a woman can prove that she can properly fight in combat and pass at the same standard as a man.

    But you also forgetting parts of history as well like the fact that women weren't allowed to fight in the Russian military because of equality but more because Stalin saw all of his people has nothing more then expendable tools to be used and discarded, men, women and children.

    O and shield maidens didn't actually exist, they only show up in folklore and mythology not in actual history.

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    • Sheild maidens existed simply out of necessity as their men were away fighting and they had to defend their village. Doesn't matter what Stalin used his people for women in the Red Army existed. You overlook the main reason there have been so many women in the military past and present-day to free up men from non-combat roles. In a modern military like the US military only 15% are combat infantry roles.

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    • And what you think is and isn't a combat position isn't necessarily the case.

      Don't listen to stupid statistics they're very rarely ever accurate regardless of what your looking at compared to the actual reality of things.

    • Lyudmila Mikhailovna Pavlichenko 309 kills during ww2 shows that women can be capable shooters.
      Women are in the military and therefore are first and foremost riflemen, though I think it's the marines that say that.
      My sister and mother were in the navy and marines. My sister was deployed on convoy duty in Iraq, she saw combat despite only being a cook.

  • Empowering! Thanks for sharing! It's pretty cool to see women's roles in history and who knew the queen was a mechanic! lol
    I am posting that on my car post! Great mytake and good work!

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  • Great take. This was really interesting.
    I'd say I agree I'm all for allowing ladies in the military-- for the most part.

    The only thing I have a problem with is active combat roles. Not like piloting or driving machinery. But on the field fighting. Because like you said they are generally weaker than men. And that not only disadvantages them against their many times male opponents. But it also gives their side just a little less power.

    In the case of active combat. I don't think it's fair to the men to make them fight with or against women. Because that's an unfair fight in their favor. Men should never have to fight women.
    And I don't think it's fair to the women to let them fight with or against men. Because that's an unfair fight against them. Women should never have to fight men.
    It's just not on equal turf. Sorry. But it's better I think to keep combat against men as a man's position. Otherwise it's not fair to either gender.

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    • I get where your coming from but I think your wrong. Warfare is not a fair occupation and a bullet shot from a female soldiers gun does as much damage as one from a males.

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    • Your right about the weight of the gear but not all soldiers wear such heavy armor and women have been in quite a few firefights. Like is any fairer when say the us army calls in an airstrip against say the Taliban. Nothing fair in war.

    • Ya I guess. But I still think it's in their best interests to let men do that part.
      But I suppose. All's fair in love and war. As they say.

  • One way or another women are always a part of anyway as much as men even when they fulfil vastly different roles
    Nowadays with the type of weaponry in play there is little to prevent them from active combat roles which is something that has been entirely common historically even though there are examples of it
    If we must have military and if they wish to serve in it then let them by all means

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  • I'm done debating this political gender bender. Lets just say that the world needs women in combat like a fish needs a bicycle.

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    • And yet history says otherwise

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    • Only if you believe this fairy tale as the Catholic Church tells it. Personally. I'm not buying it. It just doesn't pass the smell test. Just some corrupt mid-evil monks passing on their sexual fantasies for posterity. That's how I see it.

    • It's not the catholic church telling it, it's the English who lost most of their lands due to Joan of arc.

  • I consider these women the 'true Feminists'. Very different from the hysterical mental hysterical that we see today on the Internet.

    Such equality few want (or do not have the physical intellectual ability) to have.

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    • First comment I agree with, too many so-called feminists that only want equality as long as it benefits them. as soon as a war would break none of those feminist would have a problem that the only man should be drafted.

  • Women do not belong in the military. Period. End of story. Stop trying to be something you're not.

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    • Sorry but the military depends on women and they are in the military.

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    • Yep I did, it is just something you pull out of your ass

    • Are you mentally-retarded? You're not even making any sense.

  • Interesting. I'm still not in favour of having women on the front line, though.

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  • Good Take. There is always a need for people, regardless of gender, who can do military jobs.

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  • Good Mytake, sexist pigs failed at history

    Women were always in the military

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  • I think its great to have women serve beside men as long as the standards aren't lowered in any regards especially physically.

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    • I love the part where you say Boudica's army killed 80000 romans, because literally everything about it is incorrect.
      "The Battle of Watling Street took place in Roman Britain in AD 60 or 61 between an alliance of indigenous British peoples led by Boudica and a Roman army led by Gaius Suetonius Paulinus. Although heavily outnumbered, the Romans decisively defeated the allied tribes, inflicting heavy losses on them."
      Roman forces: 10000 men.
      Boudica: 230000 soldiers, plus women and children.
      Roman losses: 400
      Boudica's losses: 80000
      I... I don't even know what to say. This shit writes itself. Outnumbered 23 to 1, yet the Romans won with minimal losses? Excuse me, but how much do you have to suck at warfare to lose a battle with those odds?

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    • Vitellius was executed in Rome by troops loyal to Vespasian.
      Siege of Jerusalem (70 CE): The Roman general Titus breached the walls of Jerusalem, sacked the city and destroyed the Second Temple.
      AD 71
      Roman conquest of Britain: Roman forces entered modern Scotland.
      AD73
      Siege of Masada: Roman forces breached the walls of Masada, a mountain fortress held by the Jewish extremist sect the Sicarii.

    • When I say lack of well trained legionaries that is actually true. Trajan had a real problem with it when confronting the Parthians because naturally legions also had to be deployed in Britain, Gaul, North Italy, Davis Greece, North Africa to defend the empire from opportunistic nations. I wasn't talking either about when Roman armies were at their strongest like during Boudicia's time. Civil wars before and during the barbarian invasions meant that time had few legionaries to fight barbarian armies and had grown dependent on auxiliaries and mercenaries. The quality of the legionaries slipped too.
      Rome became a greatly advanced empire technologically but at the time of Julius Caesar it was not and others were more advanced in certain things.

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What Girls Said 12

  • My since teacher said men and women shouldn’t fight in the military TOGETHER. It’s obvious men will try to protect the women or get distracted. I think that we should have a separate women military that fights against another women military. Also women in the military should be strelized to biology didn’t get in the way.

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    • Women in the military have access to contraception, how will sterlizatiosterilisation stop biology. Also women have been side by side in the military for a long time. Women in the us military have been in combat since the Iraq war. History and the present doesn't agree with your teacher's opinions I'm afraid.

  • Yeah there have been some women in the military historically. There have also been some women with beards; that doesn't mean they're not exceptions.

    Studies show that female soldiers get injured more frequently than male soldiers[1] and mixed-gender troops perform more poorly than male-only units[2].
    [1] www.washingtonpost.com/.../
    [2] www.npr.org/.../marine-corps-study-finds-all-male-combat-units-faster-than-mixed-units

    Men and women are complementary in their strengths. Men are better at engaging in combat; women are better at peacemaking. Studies show that when there are more women in government, less war breaks out, & when women's groups influence peace processes, agreements are far more likely to be reached and implemented.
    www.inclusivesecurity.org/.../...rief-10.12.15.pdf

    It's not necessary for women to get involved in war. They should use their abilities to make it so that no wars break out in the first place.

    Before anyone asks... I don't believe in equality.

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    • "Before anyone asks... I don't believe in equality. "
      So what do you believe in?

    • @Oram52 Equity. Complementarianism. Whatever. It's hard to put into words.

  • Um... Joan of Arc had to pretend to be man.

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  • Amazing

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  • Good Take! I enjoyed reading it!

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  • I love Queen Boudicca.

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  • Great Take!

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  • Women have kicked some serious butt!

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  • Badass

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  • Well put👍

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  • Nice post interesting read

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  • Too bad women today are moving backwards

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