BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Don’t Know Much About History

Posted by sailorcindy on May 27, 2009

Earlier this month marked the 67th anniversary of the establishment of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (later granted official military status and renamed Women’s Army Corps).

As a Navy veteran, I remember learning there was a Navy equivalent to the WAC during World War II, the aptly named WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).  Boot camp was the first time I ever heard of the WAVES, and I learned literally nothing about the history of women’s involvement in the military during my Naval service.  The extent of my education on women’s involvement in the military during World War II ended with a brief mention of the WAVES.

I’m (obviously) bothered about the fact that I was not given much education on the impact women have made to the history of our military, but what bothers me more is that I feel there isn’t much change in our society on the view of a woman’s role in the military.  Maybe it was understandable when women’s roles in the military were undervalued 60 years ago, but today there are thousands of women serving overseas who are fighting right alongside their male counterparts – and who are still not getting the proper recognition for their service. I fear that 60 years from today, a new generation of women will have no recognition of the roles women played in today’s military.

Even more frightening is the impact facing women veterans today as we struggle for recognition for the price women have paid to serve the military.  The VA still does not provide adequate care to women veterans and many women who have served do not even identify as veterans or realize that they are entitled to benefits.

Could this trend be reversed if our society truly recognized the impact women veterans have had on our history and our present?

Perhaps by acknowledging the contributions women have made in the armed forces, women can take pride and get the recognition they deserve for their service.

For more information on the role of policy in aiding women veterans, please see this PowerPoint.

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