Women in the Military 1943

World War II redefined the role of women in the U.S. military. In 1942, the women’s branch of the United States Army, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), was established. Members of WAAC served in a variety of official capacities short of combat.

Government officials, however, did not want to disrupt traditional gender roles, and at first only allowed women to participate in the military temporarily in traditional capacities, such as nurses and clerks. At the end of the war, there were increased calls for the integration of women into the military. In 1948, Congress passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, providing women a permanent status in the military, but only if the population of military women did not exceed 2 percent of the armed services.