Stop 5: Women in the Work Force

While women have always had roles in the American workforce, World War 2 saw a rapid growth as women entered the workforce to help replace men being sent off to war. Over 19,000,000 women entered factories to help keep them running and offer support to the war effort. Other women joined up with theWAC or other military branches to serve and support soldiers on the front lines. Over 140,000 women served in the WAC while 70,000 women signed up to nurse corps to provide care.

In the time between the end of WWII and the beginning of the Korean War women left factories and returned home or went to work in service jobs such as secretarial work or work as bank tellers.

The Korean war saw an increase in women joining the military. the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in 1948, just two years before the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, allowed women to serve as permanent members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force for the first me in American history. Over 120,000 women were in active duty, many of which were in health care. Air Force nurses were considered crucial in the evacuation of injured soldiers from war zones.

This continued into the Vietnam war as more women volunteered with the Army Nurse Corps and were sent with soldiers into Vietnam. Over 5,000 women served in Vietnam while many more supported those abroad while in the United States. Civilian women also served in Vietnam as members of the RedCross, Peace Corps, and other volunteer departments as well as reporters who traveled to Vietnam to act as correspondents to help provide coverage of the Vietnam war.