To wrap up Women’s History Month, I thought I would share with you some interesting facts and statistics about women in the military.
Since the Department of Defense lifted the ban on women in combat roles in 2015, integrating women is rising slowly, but more women are serving in leadership roles.
The graph below shows the increase in women in the military across the four branches.
The Center for a New American Security published in March 2020 breaks down how the branches of military are doing with this integration. I won’t bore you with that information, but you can click the link if you want to read it.
The CNAS article also points out the areas the military is weak in bringing in women, namely Special Operations Forces (Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Raiders, and Air Force Special Tactics). While these units are now open to women, they have integrated none of them as of 2019, although several women are in the selection process.
And now for some fun facts about Women in the Military courtesy of the USO:
- Female marines did not attend boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina until 1949.
- President Theodore Roosevelt established the Navy Nurse Corps in 1908 with 20 women.
- Hundreds of women took part in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program during WWII.
- Commander Maureen A. Farren was the first woman to lead the combat ship USS Mount Vernon in 1998.
- Coast Guard Seaman Ina J. Toavs was the first woman to receive the Coast Guard Medal in 1979.
- In 1984, Kristine Holdereid graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy as valedictorian; the first woman to do so.
- In 2016, Brig. Gen. Diana Holland was the first female West Point Commandant of Cadets.
- Navy Nurse Joan C. Bynum became the first black female promoted to rank of Captain.
- Maternity uniforms came about in the 1970s. Before that, a woman could not serve if she was pregnant.
- And, finally, 54 women graduated from U.S. service academies in 1980 for the first time.
We women have come a long way from the time when we stayed home taking care of the home front. Thank a female service member today!
Until next time,
Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!