The Status of Gender Integration in the Military: Analysis of Selected Occupations

By Margaref C. Harrell; Megan K. 8eclceh Chlaylng et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter One
INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND1

The roles women can play in the military have been limited ever since the services started accepting them. About 33,000 women served in World War I—20,000 of them in the Army and Navy Nurse Corps, which were separate from the regular Army and Navy. In World War II, manpower shortages and reports of valuable performance by women in other countries' armed forces led the United States to use approximately 350,000 women for its own military effort. The attack on Pearl Harbor resulted in the creation of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). Women typically filled nursing and administrative jobs, which were consistent with civilian women's work, although they also served in all other noncombat jobs. These 350,000 women who served in World War II were regarded as temporary support that would free more men for combat.

After the war, women's future role with the military was called into question. In 1948, the year when racial integration was mandated by President Harry S. Truman, Congress passed the Women's Armed Services Integration Act, which placed highly specific limits on the women who would now be allowed to join the Army. Women could make up no more than 2 percent of the total enlisted ranks; the proportion of female officers could equal no more than 10 percent of enlisted women. No woman could serve in a command position,

____________________
1
This background material was drawn from Harrell and Miller (1997).

-1-

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The Status of Gender Integration in the Military: Analysis of Selected Occupations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables ix
  • Summary xiii
  • Acknowledgments xxiii
  • Abbreviations xxv
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Data Analysis: Summary of Representation of Women in the Services 13
  • Chapter Three - Examination of Selected Occupations 47
  • Chapter Four - Conclusions, Recommendations, and Policy Implications 123
  • Bibliography 137
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