Have conscripted women fought in any notable battles or wars?

Have conscripted women fought in any notable battles or wars?

Have conscripted women fought in any notable battles or wars? Wikipedia's article on Conscription of Women does not mention any concrete examples.

Wikipedia lists 9 countries that conscript women:

… only nine countries have laws allowing for the conscription of women into their armed forces: China, Eritrea, Israel, Libya, Malaysia, North Korea, Norway, Bolivia and Taiwan.

I am aware of two of those countries that have recently engaged in combat.

  1. Libya has recently fought a civil war; women probably fought. I can't find any records of Qaddafi's amazon guard fighting, although I would assume they did so.
  2. Israel has definitely had women in combat.

Obviously in the pre-modern period, conscription was the norm - in a feudal society, military service is effectively conscripted. (If you fail to show up for feudal levies the government will punish you; we could argue the edge cases of this, but for the purposes of this question, I think it stands). Nicchola de la Haye was the castellan of Lincoln castle during the Baronial revolt against John. She defended the castle. If she had not done so, she would have been brought to account by her government.

Modern military service is generally volunteer service (once again, I am aware of exceptions to the rule, but I don't think they affect the question). Individuals are not conscripted to fight, but once they volunteer, the government will punish them for failing to fight. I mention this because there are hundreds if not thousands of women in combat positions, many of whom have seen service. Major Rossi was the first US woman known to have given her life in combat.

Other sources:

  • Women in Russian/Soviet Military Consult @Anixx's answer, which suggests that conscripted Soviet women were unlikely to have seen combat.
  • women in the six day war
  • The Women in War project

Let us not forget the fearsome amazon warriors of Dahomey in West Africa.

Borghero listens, but his mind is wandering. He finds the general captivating: “slender but shapely, proud of bearing, but without affectation.” Not too tall, perhaps, nor excessively muscular. But then, of course, the general is a woman, as are all 3,000 of her troops. Father Borghero has been watching the King of Dahomey's famed corps of “amazons,” as contemporary writers termed them-the only female soldiers in the world who then routinely served as combat troops.

In the USSR they mostly conscripted only women to work as rear personnel. There were some women's fight units as well but formed on volunteer basis.

In the USSR in 1942 there were 3 waves of mobilization of the women.

  • The first one for 100 000 Komsomol women into air defense.
  • The second one for 30 000 women into communications service
  • The third one for 40 000 women mainly into logistics service and to serve as secretaries.

In 1943 there were the following women mobilizations:

  • The first one for 4 200 mainly for service for service personnel (cooks, laundry etc).

  • The second was for 25 000 women but this was on voluntary basis.

I would also add the following air force regiments composed of volunteer women pilots:

  • The 586 Women's Fighter Regiment
  • The 587 Women's Near Bomber regiment
  • The 588 Women's Night Aviation Regiment


Conscription (sometimes called the draft in the United States) is the mandatory enlistment of people in a national service, most often a military service. [4] Conscription dates back to antiquity and it continues in some countries to the present day under various names. The modern system of near-universal national conscription for young men dates to the French Revolution in the 1790s, where it became the basis of a very large and powerful military. Most European nations later copied the system in peacetime, so that men at a certain age would serve 1–8 years on active duty and then transfer to the reserve force.

Conscription is controversial for a range of reasons, including conscientious objection to military engagements on religious or philosophical grounds political objection, for example to service for a disliked government or unpopular war sexism, in that historically only men have been subject to the draft and ideological objection, for example, to a perceived violation of individual rights. Those conscripted may evade service, sometimes by leaving the country, [5] and seeking asylum in another country. Some selection systems accommodate these attitudes by providing alternative service outside combat-operations roles or even outside the military, such as Siviilipalvelus (alternative civil service) in Finland, Zivildienst (compulsory community service) in Austria and Switzerland. Several countries conscript male soldiers not only for armed forces, but also for paramilitary agencies, which are dedicated to police-like domestic only service like internal troops, border guards or non-combat rescue duties like civil defence.

As of the early 21st century, many states no longer conscript soldiers, relying instead upon professional militaries with volunteers. The ability to rely on such an arrangement, however, presupposes some degree of predictability with regard to both war-fighting requirements and the scope of hostilities. Many states that have abolished conscription still, therefore, reserve the power to resume conscription during wartime or times of crisis. [6] States involved in wars or interstate rivalries are most likely to implement conscription, and democracies are less likely than autocracies to implement conscription. [7] With a few exceptions, such as Singapore and Egypt, former British colonies are less likely to have conscription, as they are influenced by British anti-conscription norms that can be traced back to the English Civil War the United Kingdom abolished conscription in 1960. [7]

Ancient Period
Nineteen historical women warriors are identi&Mac222ed by Li (1992) for the ancient period. All nineteen are either commanders of armies or leaders of peasant uprisings. In addition to these historical women soldiers, there are many fictional women warriors and female knights errant 2 (Yu 1978 Jiang 1986 Liu 1981 May 1985). Both in ancient and modern times, numerous literary and artistic works portray these historical and fictional women warriors. Chinese cultural heritage includes legends of women soldiers. No matter how she is educated or where she is located, all Chinese women know the names of such heroines as Mu Lan Hua or Hong Yu Liang.

The first Chinese woman general, Hao Fu,3 appeared about 3,200 years ago.4 One oracle inscription carved on animal bones describes her as a commanding marshal of over 13,000 soldiers, who went on a punitive expedition to Qiang Kingdom on another expedition, a male general, Gao Hou, was under her command.5 Two other women generals were of minor nationalities: Madame Xi of the Li nationality and Madame Wa Shi of Zhuang nationality, whose victories aided the ruling emperor.6

However, the most famous women generals were Liang Yu Qin and Hong Yu Liang. Qin is known for her many victories in both national defense and the suppression of internal uprisings. The last emperor of the Ming Dynasty wrote several poems to praise her.7 For many years, Liang and her husband Marshal Shi Zhong Han were stationed in border areas. Liang was known for fighting at the side of her husband in many battles. In 1130, her husband's troops engaged the enemy in a major campaign at a place called Gold Mountain [Jin Shan] along the Yang Zi River. Liang beat the battle drum and used flag lights to guide the army. She was not afraid of being killed by the enemies' arrows and stones, and eventually their 8,000 troops defeated the enemy's 10,000. Until today, the story "beat battle drum at Gold Mountain" [Ji Gu Zhan Jin Shan] is still used to mobilize Chinese women for national self defense.

As the first woman leader of a peasant uprising, Mu Lu [Lu's mother] was the only woman who took part in military operations simply because of a personal reason: to bring revenge on a bad county governor who had wrongly executed her son. Another peasant leader, Shuo Zhen Chen, was the first and the only Chinese woman to designate herself the emperor after launching a peasant uprising. Her peasant army occupied most of Jiang Xi province, but in the end she was captured by the official army and executed. Three of the six women uprising leaders, Shuo Zhen Chen, Sai Er Tang, and Cong Er Wang, used religious activities and symbols to mobilize people. Both Tang and Wang relied on a Buddhist religion named "White Lotus," which developed during the Ming and Qing, the last two feudal dynasties. This pattern was also observed among some women warriors' behavior in the Boxer Movement and Tai Ping Tian Guo Movement.

Most famous as defenders of homeland or home city were Mu Lan Hua and Guan Niang Xun. Hua is the earliest legendary woman warrior in Chinese culture and was recently verified by various scholars as a real woman living during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- A.D. 220). She is recorded in a name book compiled at the end of Jin Dynasty around the year A.D. 419 (Huang 1991). Hua's deed inspired the largest number of literary and artistic works about Chinese heroines. These peasant heroines either refused to be promoted after victory or their participation in military operations was comparatively shorter than that of women generals. Most were involved in only one major combat.

All women warriors in Figure 1 are regarded as heroic combatants. Bravery, strong mastery of martial art, and unique leadership are common characteristics of these heroines. Most have little if any military training, but they practiced and mastered martial art since childhood, contrary to the common behavioral expectation for their gender. Observing strict discipline, sharing hardships with soldiers, and having clever tactics are common descriptions of the women warriors' leadership.

Two common patterns of the ancient heroines' participation in military operations are apparent. One is a crisis of group survival in which the country or city is under attack, and which therefore justifies the warfare second is a key male family member with military commanding status is absent, dead, or disabled or has been involved in the same uprising as the woman warrior. Hua, for example, disguised as a man, joins the army because her father is sick and cannot go to war. Xun, at the age of 13, breaks out of the encirclement to get the relief troops because her father has to remain in command of the defense and her scholarly brothers do not have skills in the martial arts. Princess Ping Yang raises an army and joins her father's uprising to keep her whole family from being executed by the emperor in power. As a governor's concubine, Madam Huan Hua leads the defense of her city because the governor is away. Both Bi and Shen launch counterattacks on the enemies, not only for the defense of their cities but also to get back their fathers' dead bodies. Women leaders of peasant uprisings fight shoulder to shoulder with their male family members. All of the women generals have highly positioned male family members. Given the patriarchal structure and feudal culture of ancient Chinese society, it is understandable that such strong family ties to male relatives are prominent in the women's actions. The only Chinese women warriors who act independently of their families are those who are female knights errant.

Ancient Chinese heroines serve as an everlasting inspiration to Chinese women. The loyalty of the ancient women soldiers is emphasized in both history books and artistic works. These women exhibit either strong loyalty to their families or the emperors or the causes of rebelling peasants. Their nobility is shown through loyalty to the group. The legendary figures in Chinese history and their participation in military operations during crises in group survival encourage similar behavior for Chinese women in modern times.

Post Opium War Time Period, 1840-1949
Chinese women warriors were very active during the eighteen-year Tai Ping Tian Guo Movement (1850-1868), China's largest and longest peasant uprising. Thousands of women officers and soldiers, organized in gender-segregated battalions, engaged in a wide range of military activities, including combat. Similarly, women also participated in the national revolution of 1911, which overthrew the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty. Jin Qiu, the most famous female revolutionary of this period, organized an unsuccessful military uprising in Shaoxin, Zhe Jiang Province, for which she was captured and executed (Bao 1979 Chen 1975).

In the early years of the Chinese communist movement (1927-1935), women again served in large numbers in a wide range of combat and noncombat military roles (Segal, Li, and Segal 1992). About 3,000 women are recorded as participating in the thirteen-month Long March of over 12,500 kilometers in 1934-35 and in over 500 military engagements with the nationalist Guomintang and local warlords, after the Red Army broke through the Nationalist siege of the Jiangxi Soviet base. The 2,000-member Women's Independence Brigade, a logistical unit, carried the machines and equipment necessary for keeping the Red Army supplied. It also includes a 500-person Women's Engineer Battalion, responsible for carrying the hard currency (much of it in precious metal) for the Red Army. Women in the Fourth Front Red Army also carried litter and built roads and bridges. The Women's Independence Brigade engaged in several battles as part of the West Wing Army and suffered with them in a major defeat. Large numbers of women were casualties, and the women captured became the spoils of war for Guomintang soldiers and officers. The 32 women soldiers in the First Front Army who were the wives of such leaders as Mao Ze Dong and Zhou En Lai and the women who served as ministers of the Soviets in various provinces survived the Long March. The Central Work Regiment, which engaged in propaganda work, contained twenty-four women. Fewer than twenty of the women who served in the Second and Sixth Red Army Corps as confidential secretaries, nurses, cooks, and commanders have thus far been identified. One of these women, Zhen Li, was the only woman general to emerge during this period (All-China Women's Federation 1986). Toward the end of the Long March, the gender-segregated units were disbanded, and the remaining women integrated into other units. Smaller numbers of women then served in other military elements of the communist movement during this period. Recently, 149 women who survived the Long March have been identified by researchers.

The period following the Long March from 1935 to 1945 is known as the Yan An and was a time of recuperation and reorganization of the Red Army. In August 1937, the Red Army became the Eighth Route Army of the National Revolution Army and, under an agreement with the Guomintang, formed a united Anti-Japanese Front. It was during this period that women were relegated to support functions. The few women remaining in the Red Army were joined by thousands of young anti-Japanese women in noncombat auxiliary roles of nursing, communications, administration, propaganda, and logistics.

Many received training in political, medical, or art schools at Yan An and participated actively in economic production. This pattern of mobilizing women in auxiliary support roles continues through the Liberation War period (1945-1949), during which the Eighth Route Army officially becomes the People's Liberation Army (PLA). In addition to the women cadres within the PLA, women militia and thousands of women in the Liberated Areas joined in by playing important roles in combat support, pushing wheelbarrows full of gasoline, food, and ammunition into battle areas and carrying wounded soldiers back to the rear. They also supervised and trained prisoners of war. Still other supportive roles included making shoes and building bridges and roads. In Shandong Province, there was an especially heroic example of women's service when hundreds of village women formed a human bridge in icy waters at night for the PLA to cross. Since its early days, women in the Guomindang army have played supportive but minimal roles in the nationalist forces.

Modern Times, 1949-present
After the communist victory in 1949, the PLA became primarily a force for counterinsurgency, for postwar reconstruction of the societal infrastructure, and for the mobilization of the peasantry for land reform. Much of the military cadre was demobilized and assumed civilian administrative positions. In 1951, despite an engagement of Chinese combat troops in the Korean War, 150,000 women cadres (8 percent of the total cadre corps) were assigned to civilian positions. Chinese women soldiers did go to war during the Korean War as cultural workers, nurses, doctors, and telephone operators. These PLA women were ostracized as were most Chinese POWs when they returned home.

In 1955, with the hostilities in Korea over, the postwar Soviet model of military organization which minimized the role of women in the military was implemented and a major demobilization of military women occurred8 (Jones 1985, 101). As many as 764,000 women (14.5 percent of the total) were assigned to civilian positions (All-China Women's Federation 1986). Since that time, China's military operations have primarily been conflicts over international boundaries,9 and women have not been in combat roles in any of these conflicts. Only during the last conflict in 1979 did women serve in the combat zone as doctors and nurses, telecommunication personnel, and cultural workers.

Today's Women in the Chinese Military
Today, Chinese women comprise about 4.5 percent of total military personnel in the PLA.10 Serving in the military enjoys high popularity among young Chinese women because it opens opportunities for education and training, better jobs in the future, possible residence in cities, and higher status in society.11 Nearly all women soldiers serve in traditional female roles or in military support positions and are concentrated in headquarters, hospitals, research institutions, and communication facilities. There they serve as medical workers, administrative personnel, communications specialists, logistical support staff, political and propaganda workers, scientific researchers, and technicians. There are no women combat pilots and no women in ground combat troops only recently have women been assigned to military medical ships.12 Although they are in positions of relative prestige within the military, women do not have equal chances of promotion.

In the 1980s, there was a shift from Soviet to American influence on Chinese military organization. many policies and new regulations were developed in the process of professionalization. But women remain primarily in the roles that they occupied in the recent past. There are no special policies or regulations regarding women in the military, partially due to the persistent emphasis on equal treatment advocated by the Party. Two changes, however, are worthy of note. First, some previously military noncombat roles filled by women have been made civilian roles. Second, with the reestablishment of ranks within the PLA (a form of stratification that had been regarded previously as unsocialist), women received officer rank, including eight women major generals who immediately became public examples of social equality.

If China follows a pattern observed in western industrialized nations, trends toward gender equality in other spheres of life, such as civilian work and family life, may lead eventually to the widening of opportunities in the military where national legislation prohibiting gender discrimination in employment has removed gender-based exclusions from military assignments (Stanley and Segal 1988). But these changes have occurred in a climate of declining numbers of men eligible for military service (while the armed forces remained large) and cultural values fostering gender role changes. Judging from historical precedent in China and other nations, it is unlikely that women will be incorporated into the Chinese armed forces in large numbers or with greatly expanded roles until they have achieved greater equality in other areas of life and/or there is a national crisis which creates a shortage of men qualified for military service.

1 Six of them were officially designated as generals another six women warriors were leaders of peasant uprisings. Only 5 percent were women combatants, who were without official rank but who had their deeds recorded in history books.

2 They were "women social bandits" (May 1985, 185), who single-handedly tried to correct wrongs in society by use of stealth, cunning, and violence.

3 All Chinese names in this article are ordered according to Western style, which puts last name at the end. The surname goes with a title, e.g., Madame Xi.

4 Among inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells which have been verified as carved in middle and late Shang dynasty (16th to 11th century B.C.), Hao Fu's name has been found over 250 times. Most of these oracle inscriptions expressed King Ding Wu's concern about Hao Fu's well-being and health. Hao Fu is the first documented at this time, but additional discoveries may reveal women generals and soldiers at earlier times as archeological work is continuing in the ancient tombs.

5 Inscriptions not only recorded how many places she had conquered, but also her various strategies and tactics. In addition to over 600 jade wares and 7,000 sea shell currency discovered in her tomb in 1976, there were two bronze hatchets, which were symbols of her status as a military commander and her ruling power in that period (Chen 1991). After Hao Fu's death, her husband, King Ding Wu, continued practicing divination and offering sacrifices to her, asking her spirit in heaven to guide the army and to guarantee victory for his kingdom.

6 Madame Xi was promoted to general because of her assistance to the Emperor of Sui (A.D. 581-618) in suppressing several uprisings that occurred in her time. Madame Wa Shi led troops to cross several thousand li (Chinese miles) for the defense of Shanghai in March 1555, and rescued a Marshal of the Ming Dynasty from the enemy's ambush. She also had a big victory at a place near Su Zhou, Zhe Jiang province, where the name of the place was changed to "Victory Port" to memorialize her.

7 Her promotion to general was after her husband's miserable death in jail caused by a court eunuch's slander.

8 Despite negative reactions from veteran women soldiers (a small proportion of whom were able to stay in the military because of familial or personal contacts or because as women professionals their skills were needed), as part of the process of transforming the PLA from an irregular revolutionary army to a conventional military force, 764,00 women cadres (14.5 percent of the total cadre force) were assigned to civilian positions (All-China Women's Federation 1986).

9 These international conflicts are: the Sino-India boundary conflict in 1962 the Sino-Soviet boundary conflict in 1969 the South China Sea conflict with Vietnam in 1974 and the Sino-Vietnam boundary conflict in 1979.

10 A source stated that 136,000 women worked in the PLA at the end of 1987. Among them, 104,000 were officers (76.5 percent of the total military women), and 32,000 were enlisted women (23.5 percent). In proportion to the total number of the 46,876,000 female staff and workers (not including female labor in rural areas) at the end of 1986, military women only account for 0.3 percent of the total female employees. But compared with the total of 8.7 million women officials in the country, women officers account for 11.95 percent.

11 Talented girls have more chances to be recognized and recruited by the military. Through the military cultural troops and military art college, girls as young as twelve years old start their prolonged training within the military to become future artists with military rank. It is also the case for military athletes. The military women's volleyball team and basketball team are the best teams in China and have produced several cohorts of players for the national teams.

12 From 1951 to 1987, the Chinese Air Force trained 208 women pilots of five cohorts 55 of the first cohort graduated in 1952. At present, 37 women of the sixth cohort are being trained in Northeast China. None of them has been assigned to combat, although a few of them have become test pilots.

All-China Women's Federation. Study Materials for the History of the Women's Movement. Beijing, 1986.Bao, Jia Lin, ed. Collected Works on the History of Chinese Women. Tai Pei: Mu Tong Publisher, 1979.Chen, Dong Yuan. A History of Chinese Women's Life. Tai Pei: Shang Wu Publisher, 1975.Chen, Ming Fu. Zhong Guo Li Dai Nu Bing [Women Warriors in Chinese History]. Beijing: Chinese Women Publisher, 1991.Gu Jin Zhong Wai Nu Min Ren Ci Dian [Dictionary of Famous Women in the World: From History to Contemporary], compiled by College of Chinese Women Administrative Cadres. Beijing: China Broadcasting and Television Publisher, 1989.Huang, Can Zhang. "Hua Mu Lan's Last Name is not Hua." People's Daily Abroad, April 10, 1991.Jiang, Tao, et al., eds. Zhong Guo Chuan Qi [Chinese Legend], Vol. 15.22 Lie Nu Zhuan [Women Biography]. Taipei: Zhuang Yan Publisher, 1986.Jones, Ellen. Red Army and Society: A Sociology of the Soviet Military. Boston: Allen and Unwin Inc., 1985.Li, Xiaolin, "Patterns of Chinese Women's Participation in Military Operations in Ancient Times." Presented at the Section on the Sociology of Peace and War, 87th Annual Meeting, American Sociology Association, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 1992.-----. "Chinese Women in the People's Liberation Army: Professionals or Quasi-Professionals?" Armed Forces and Society 20, no. 1 (Winter 1993).Lie Nu Zhuan [Women Biography], compiled by Guo Xue Stuey Group. Taipei: Han Xue Publisher, 1984.Liu, Hsiang. Cong Lie Nu Zhuan Kan Gu Dai Zhong Guo Fu Nu De Di Wei [Women's Status in Ancient China Through the Study of Women Biography], 1981.Lu, Yin Quan. "How many women identified are there in The Twenty Four Histories?" People's Daily Abroad, April 10, 1991.Mao, Ze Dong. "Report of an Investigation into the Peasant Movement in Hunan." Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1953.May, Louise Anne. "Worthy Warriors and Unruly Amazons: Sino-Western Historical Accounts and Imaginative Images of Women in Battle." Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, the University of British Columbia, Canada, 1985.Military History of China Compilation Group. Wu Jin Oi Shu Zhu Yi. Beijing: PLA Publisher, 1986.Segal, Mady W., Xiaolin Li, and David R. Segal. "The Role of Women in the Chinese People's Liberation Army." In Armed Forces in the USSR and the People's Republic of China, edited by Eberhard Sandschneider and Jurgen Kuhlmann. Munich: Forum International, 1992. Stanley, Sandra Carson, and Mady Wechsler Segal. "Military Women in NATO: An Update." Armed Forces and Society 14 (1988): 559-585.Xue, Weiwei, ed. Dictionary of Chinese Famous Women. San Xi People's Publisher, 1988.Yu, Zhenbang. Xhong Guo Li Dai Ming Nu Lie Zhuan [Biographies of Famous Women in Chinese History]. Taipei: Lian Ya Publishers, 1978.

Xiaolin Li served in the navy, air force, and army of China's PLA from October 1969 until June 1987. She retired with the rank of Battalion Commander. Her service experiences included working as a telephone operator, English typist, cadet, interpreter/translator, and staff officer. Xiaolin's interest in the military began as a child, for her father was a general and her mother a lieutenant colonel. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Maryland, where her research is on women in the Chinese military.


Several hundred thousand women served in combat roles [ citation needed ] , especially in anti-aircraft units. The Soviet Union, for example, integrated women directly into their army units. The United States, by comparison, elected not to use women in combat because public opinion would not tolerate it. [1] Instead, like in other nations, approximately 350,000 women served as uniformed auxiliaries in non-combat roles in the U.S. armed forces. These roles included: administration, nurses, truck drivers, mechanics, electricians, and auxiliary pilots. [2]

Women also took part outside of formal military structure in the resistances of France, Italy, and Poland, as well as in the British SOE and American OSS which aided these.

Women were forced into sexual slavery the Imperial Japanese Army forced hundreds of thousands in Asia to become comfort women, before and throughout World War II.

Australia Edit

Australian women played a larger role in World War 2 than they had done in World War I. Many women wanted to play an active role, and hundreds of voluntary women's auxiliary and paramilitary organisations had been formed by 1940. A shortage of male recruits forced the military to establish female branches in 1941 and 1942.

Canada Edit

When war began to look unavoidable in the late 1930s, Canadian women felt obligated to help the fight. In October 1938, the Women's Volunteer Service was established in Victoria, British Columbia. Soon, all the provinces and territories followed suit and similar volunteer groups were emerged. "Husbands, brothers, fathers, boyfriends were all joining up, doing something to help win the war. Surely women could help as well!" [3] In addition to the Red Cross, several volunteer corps had designed themselves after auxiliary groups from Britain. These corps had uniforms, marching drills and a few had rifle training. It became clear, that a unified governing system would be beneficial to the corps. The volunteers in British Columbia donated two dollars each to pay the expenses so a representative could talk to politicians in Ottawa. Although all of the politicians appeared sympathetic to the cause, it remained "premature" in terms of national necessity. [3]

In June 1941, the Canadian Women's Army Corps was established. The women who enlisted would take over

  • Drivers of light mechanical transport vehicles
  • Cooks in hospitals and messes
  • Clerks, typists, and stenographers at camps and training centres
  • Telephone operators and messengers
  • Canteen helpers [3]

On 2 July 1942 women were given permission to enlist in what would be known as the Canadian Women's Auxiliary Air Force. Lastly the Royal Canadian Navy created the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRENS). [3] The WRENS were the only corps that were officially a part of their sanctioning body as a women's division. This led to bureaucratic issues that would be solved most easily by absorbing the civilian corps governed by military organizations, into women's divisions as soldiers. According to the RCAF the following are the requirements of an enlisted woman:

  1. Must be at least 17 years of age, and younger than 41 years of age
  2. Must be of medical category A4B (equivalent of A1)
  3. Must be equal to or over 5 feet (152 cm), and fall within the appropriate weight for her height, not being too far above or below the standard
  4. Must have a minimum education of entrance into high school
  5. Be able to pass the appropriate trades test
  6. Be of good character with no record of conviction for an indictable offence [3]

Women would not be considered for enlistment if they were married and had children dependent on them. Training centres were required for all of the new recruits. They could not be sent to the existing centres as it was necessary that they be separated from male recruits. The Canadian Women's Army Corps set up centres in Vermilion, Alberta and Kitchener, Ontario. Ottawa and Toronto were the locations of the training centres for the Canadian Women's Auxiliary Air Force. The WRENS were outfitted in Galt, Ontario. [3] Each service had to come up with the best possible appeal to the women joining, for they all wanted them. In reality, the women went where their fathers, brothers and boyfriends were. [3] Women had numerous reasons for wanting to join the effort whether they had a father, husband, or brother in the forces, or simply felt it a duty to help. One woman blatantly exclaimed that she could not wait to turn eighteen to enlist, because she had fantasies of assassinating Hitler. Many women aged 16 or 17 lied about their age in order to enlist. The United States would allow only women who were at least twenty-one to join. For their young female citizens, Canada was the logical option. Recruitment for the different branches of the Canadian Forces was set up in places like Boston and New York. Modifications were made to girls with US citizenship, having their records marked, "Oath of allegiance not taken by virtue of being a citizen of The United States of America". [3]

Women had to undergo to medical examinations and meet fitness requirements as well as training in certain trades, depending on the aspect of the armed forces of which they wanted to be a part. Enlisted women were issued entire uniforms minus the undergarments, for which they would receive a quarterly allowance. [3]

To be an enlisted woman during the creation stages was not easy. Besides the fact that everyone was learning as they went, they did not receive the support they needed from the male recruits. To begin with, women were initially paid two-thirds of what a man at the same level would make. [4] As the war progressed the military leaders began to see the substantial impact the women could make. This was taken into account and the women received a raise to four-fifths of the wages of a man. [4] A female doctor however, would receive equal financial compensation to her male counterpart. The negative reaction of men towards the female recruits was addressed in propaganda films. Proudly She Marches and Wings on Her Shoulder were made to show the acceptance of female recruits, while showing the men that although they were taking jobs traditionally intended for men, they would be able to retain their femininity. [3]

Other problems faced early on for these women were those of a more racial nature. An officer of the CWAC had to write to her superiors regarding whether or not a girl of "Indian nationality" would be objected to for enlistment. Because of Canada's large population of immigrants, German women also enlisted, creating great animosity between recruits. [3] The biggest difficulty was the French-Canadian population. In a document published on 25 November 1941, it was declared that enlisted women should "unofficially" speak English. However, seeing the large number of capable women that this left out, a School of English was stabled for recruits in mid-1942. [3] In 1942, Mary Greyeyes-Reid became the first First Nations woman to join the Canadian Forces. [5] She was featured in photographs to represent native people in the forces, yet at the same time was not welcome in the barracks due to discrimination. [6]

Once in training, some women felt that they had made a mistake. Several women cracked under the pressure and were hospitalized. Other women felt the need to escape, and ran away. The easiest and fastest way out of the service was pregnancy. Women who found out that they were expecting were given a special, quickly executed, discharge. [3]

The women who successfully graduated from training had to find ways to entertain themselves to keep morale up. Softball, badminton, tennis, and hockey were among popular pastimes for recruits. [3]

Religion was of a personal matter to the recruits. A minister of sorts was usually on site for services. For Jewish women, it was custom that they were able to get back to their barracks by sundown on Sabbath and holidays a rabbi would be made available if possible. [3]

At the beginning of the war 600,000 women in Canada held permanent jobs in the private sector, by the peak in 1943 1.2 million women had jobs. [7] Women quickly gained a good reputation for their mechanical dexterity and fine precision due to their smaller stature.

Female munitions workers were sometimes nicknamed: "Bomb Girl", "Fusilier", "Munitionette", "Munitions Gal". [8] Canadian munitions factories that hired women include the General Engineering Company (Canada) Limited (GECO) and Defence Industries Limited (DIL).

Women in the GECO (or "Scarboro") munitions plant filled fuses, primers, tracers and tubes [9] In addition to buildings dedicated to munitions manufacturing, GECO also included a bank, offices, a guardhouse, a kitchen, proofing yard, changing houses, medical department, laundry, Recreation Club and more. [10]

Women also had to keep their homes together while the men were away. "An Alberta mother of nine boys, all away at either war or factory jobs – drove the tractor, plowed the fields, put up hay, and hauled grain to the elevators, along with tending her garden, raising chickens, pigs, and turkeys, and canned hundreds of jars of fruits and vegetables". [7]

In addition to physical jobs, women were also asked to cut back and ration. Silk and nylon were used for the war efforts, creating a shortage of stockings. Many women painted lines down the back of their legs to create the illusion of wearing the fashionable stockings of the time. [7]

Ten Notable Women of World War I

We received a media release from MyHeritage.com about 10 notable women of the First World War whose contributions have been largely forgotten today, and we felt we had to share this list with our readers. We would also add to the list the names of Maria Bochkareva, a soldier in the Russian Army who recruited some 2,000 women, about 250 of whom saw action on the Austrian Front, and the Cossack Maria Yurlova, who served in Armenia against the Turks. Many other names could be added as well. Photos provided by MyHeritage.com unless otherwise noted.

Julia Hunt Catlin Taufflieb (1864-1947). Socialite and philanthropist born in Maine, she was the first American woman to be awarded the French Croix de Guerre and Legion d’honneur, for converting the Chateau d’Annel into a 300-bed hospital near the front line. She offered use of the chateau to Britain’s Lord Kitchner, though her friend Rudyand Kipling, in August 1914, but the area was soon overrun by the initial German offensive. The hospital was established in 1917 when the area was retaken by the Allied Powers her actions prompted other Americans in France to offer their residences to the war effort. She married Emile Adolphe Taufflieb, who had commanded France’s 37th Army Corps.

Mary Borden (1886-1968). A Chicago-born heiress, novelist and poet living in England in 1914, she too was awarded France’s Croix de Guerre for using her own money to establish a mobile hospital unit on the Western Front. She served as a nurse until the end of war, and her experiences are vividly recalled in her writings.

Helen Fairchild (1885-1918). A nurse from Pennsylvania who staffed a unit on the Western Front at Passchendaele in Belgium, she died after undergoing surgery for a gastric ulcer. She is remembered because of her many letters home that preserved the details of a nurse’s life in the war.

Dr. Elsie Inglis (1864-1917). This Scottish doctor and suffragist was the driving force in founding the Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit in 1914, which eventually operated over a dozen hospitals from France to the Balkans. She served in the first one, established in Serbia, and became a prisoner of war for a time. She then organized and headed the SWH in Russia. Already seriously ill when she was evacuated to England in November 1917, she died at Newcastle very shortly after her return.

Flora Sandes (1876-1956). She was a British nurse in Serbia who enlisted as a Serbian Army soldier during the Serbs’ arduous retreat from the Central Powers’ offensive of 1915. First a St. John Ambulance volunteer, Sandes became the only British woman officially to serve as a soldier. In 1916, she was seriously wounded by a grenade in hand-to-hand combat. She received the highest decoration of the Serbian Military, the Order of the Karađorđe’s Star, was promoted to the rank of sergeant major, and, after the war, to captain.

Evelina Haverfield (1867-1920). A British suffragette and aid worker, she was co-founder (with Decima Moore) of the Women’s Emergency Corps. In 1915, she volunteered to join the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in Serbia as a nurse. After the war, she worked in a Serbian children orphanage, where she died of pneumonia in 1920.

Edith Wharton (1862-1937). An American living in self-imposed exile in France when the war broke out, the renowned novelist was one of the few foreigners allowed to travel to the French front lines during the WWI, thanks to her influential connections to the French government. She toured military hospitals and battlefields. In 1916 France named her a Chevalier of the Legion d’honneur in recognition of energetic fund-raising for refugees, and Belgium made her a Chevalier of the Order of Leopold. Upon her death in August 1937, representatives of the French War Veterans Association of Saint Brice accompanied the coffin to her burial service.

Mildred Aldrich (1853-1928). A journalist, editor and writer from Providence, Rhode Island, she moved to France in 1898, where she worked as a foreign correspondent and translator. In 1914, her house overlooked the Marne river valley. Her wartime journal and letters to her American friends about the First Battle of the Marne constitute her book A Hilltop on the Marne (1915), the first of four books comprised of her wartime letters. She presciently wrote to Gertrude Stein before the war began, “It will be the bloodiest affair the world has ever seen – a war in the air, under the sea as well as on it, and carried out with the most effective man-slaughtering machines ever used in battle.” France believed her books influenced America to enter the war and awarded her the Legion d’honneur in 1922.

Dame Helen Charlotte Isabella Gwynne-Vaughan (1879 – 1967). A prominent English botanist and mycologist, in 1917 she was appointed Controller of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in France, an organization she helped create. She became the first woman to receive a military Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1918. She served as Commandant of the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) from September 1918 until December 1919. For her wartime achievements she was made a Dame of the British Empire (DBE).

Edith Cavell (1865-1915) was a British nurse who joined the Red Cross at the outbreak of the war. She saved the lives of soldiers from both sides, treating all without prejudice. Arrested by the Germans for having helped 200 Allied soldiers escape from Belgium to the Netherlands, she was sentenced to death and executed in October 1915. A statue commemorating her near London’s Trafalgar Square is only one of the memorials erected to her memory.

Important and Famous Women in America

Sung and unsung, more women have contributed significantly to American history than can be contained within a single table. The following is a representative survey of some of the most important women in American history. The definition of a "famous woman" will vary between individuals, but there is no doubt that these women contributed importantly to the advancement of our society as well as the advancement of women in America.

Religious freedom, leadership

Brought settlers seeking religious freedom to Gravesend at New Amsterdam (later New York). She was a respected and important community leader.

Religious freedom of expression

Banished from Boston by Puritans in 1637, due to her views on grace. In New York, natives killed her and all but one of her children.

She saved the life of Capt. John Smith at the hands of her father, Chief Powhatan. Later married the famous John Rolfe. Met royalty in England.

Human rights women's suffrage

Thought to be North America's first feminist, Brent became one of the largest landowners in Maryland. Aided in settling land dispute raised armed volunteer group.

Quaker beliefs led to Dyer's hanging later recognized as martyr for quickening the reversal of anti-Quaker laws in Massachusetts and other colonies.

One of America's first poets Bradstreet's poetry was noted for its important historic content until mid-1800s publication of Contemplations, a book of religious poems.

Wife of prominent Salem, Massachusetts, citizen, Parsons was acquitted of witchcraft charges in the most documented and unusual witch hunt trial in colonial history.

After her capture during King Philip's War, Rowlandson wrote famous firsthand accounting of 17th-century Indian life and its Colonial/Indian conflicts.

A Georgia woman of mixed race, she and her husband started a fur trade with the Creeks. As an important interpreter, she helped to avoid a war.

She wrote lucidly about her life and time in letters, and exerted political influence over her famous president husband John, and son, John Quincy.

The first significant black poet in America, the former slave exemplified the superiority of the human spirit over the circumstances of birth.

At the Battle of Monmouth, she brought water to Continental soldiers, attended the wounded and also replaced her fallen husband at a gun.

First U.S. saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Parochial education in America began with her founding of a famous Catholic school in Maryland.

Founder of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first black Roman Catholic order in the U.S. She promoted education for deprived people.

This resolute and resourceful Shoshone woman was a guide and interpreter for the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805 and 1806.

Advancement of women, journalism

Editor of magazines, notably Godey’s Lady’s Book, which promoted the betterment of women. She supported important economic reform.

She and her husband, James, made their home a station on the Underground Railroad. Helped to organize the Women’s Rights Convention.

As a preacher, Truth campaigned nationwide for the abolition of slavery and important women’s rights. Also raised money for black Union soldiers.

Social reform and war nursing

An advocate of asylum, poorhouse and prison reform, she also helped alleviate Civil War misery as Superintendent of Female Nurses.

One of the founders of the Holiness Movement, Methodist evangelist Palmer advocated Christian perfection or the cleansing of original sin prior to death.

Famous for her controversial novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an antislavery story based on her experiences. Also spoke against slavery.

Abolition and women's rights

Stanton (and important friend Susan B. Anthony) fought for women’s suffrage when the 14 th and 15 th amendments excluded gender equality.

Business, real estate and philanthropy

Winning freedom from slavery, she worked as a nurse/midwife, and became a canny, wealthy entrepreneur. She lavished money on charities.

Women's suffrage and abolition

A pioneer in the movement for women's rights, she lectured against slavery and advocated equality for women. Famous for becoming the first woman in Massachussets to earn a college degree.

Author, suffragist, abolitionist

A poet, lecturer, author of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." She also helped form the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

Abolition and women’s rights

A tireless campaigner for gender equality, Anthony (and friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton) inspired a nationwide suffrage movement.

A “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, she led more than 300 slaves to freedom. Also served Union forces in coastal South Carolina.

The first woman physician in the U.S. (MD, Geneva College, 1849). She opened a slum infirmary and trained women in medicine.

Founder of the [3823:Church of Christ, Scientist]. Wrote Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, her famous adjunct to the Bible.

Aid to soldiers and free education

Organized and delivered important aid to Union and Confederate soldiers. Started the American Red Cross. Started a free school in New Jersey.

Pollution control, invention

This Manhattan inventor devised a method to reduce factory smoke emissions and reduced the track noise from elevated trains.

An American literary icon of the 19 th century, Alcott was also involved in women's suffrage.

She inherited her father’s fortune and invested it so cannily that she was reputed to be the richest woman in the world at the time.

“Mother” Jones was present as a labor organizer and speaker at many significant labor struggles of the 19 th and 20 th centuries.

Temperance and women’s suffrage

A tireless campaigner, she was a founder and president of important organizations that fought for prohibition. Also work for women’s suffrage.

Chemistry and engineering

First woman to enroll in a technical institute (MIT), in 1870. Founded the science of home economics and promoted science for women.

Notorious for violent disruption of alcohol sales. She was jailed often, but her courage and eloquence impressed many people.

Women’s suffrage, mountaineering

She scaled the 21,812-foot Peruvian mountain Huascaran, the loftiest Western Hemisphere peak climbed by an American man or woman.

Sharp-shooting and entertainment

Gifted with uncanny marksmanship and star of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, she established herself as a famous western folk legend.

Noted for Hull House, an influential haven for disadvantaged people. Active in a variety of causes, she shared the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize.

Discovered by the New York art world in 1939, Moses’ style is noted for evocative themes and pleasing figure arrangement.

First woman and female geologist to earn a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins. A pioneer in microscope viewings of minerals and rocks.

Winifred Edgerton Merrill

First U.S. woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics (Columbia, 1886 highest honors). Founded the famous Oaksmere School for Girls in 1906.

Social justice, investigative journalism

As an often-undercover journalist, Bly sided with poor and marginalized people. Also noted for a famous 72-day race around the world in 1889.

Overcame childhood obstacles to become Helen Keller's teacher and lifelong companion.

1947 Nobel Peace Prize winner, founder the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and was an important woman advocate for peace during WWI and WWII.

An author, and head of the Democratic National Committee's Women's Division, Dewson also fought for a minimum wage law.

Social reform and family planning

Dismayed by infant mortality, Sanger became a vocal advocate of contraception and established an important medically supervised family planning clinic.

Social reform, writing and lecturing

Deafened and blinded by a childhood disease, she overcame her disabilities, then worked for the blind and numerous progressive causes.

Jeannette Rankin was the first woman ever elected to Congress. She was one of few congressional members to vote no on WWI and WWII.

Perkins was the first woman Cabinet member in the U.S. She served as FDR's Secretary of Labor, and played a key role in New Deal legislation.

Activism, traveling and speaking

Enormously effective wife of FDR, she was a Democratic Party activist, worked for racial equality and was U.S. Representative to the U.N.

Widely regarded as one of the great modernist painters of the 20 th century, O'Keeffe was a major figure in American art for more than 70 years.

Southern California evangelist famous for her Temple and “illustrated sermons.” Founded International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

Folklorist, anthropologist and novelist. Most prolific black woman writer of the 1930s.

Adoption advocacy, writing

Author of books reflecting her life in China. Won the 1938 Nobel Prize in Literature. Buck worked for the adoption of unwanted children.

Famous for flying across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. She attempted to fly around the world, then disappeared July 2, 1937.

Catholic-based Social Service, writing

Founded Catholic Worker Movement with Peter Maurin in 1933, an important outreach to disadvantaged and marginalized people.

She used her rare voice to advance race relations. First black Metropolitan Opera star. Alternate U.N. delegate. Honored many times.

Maine’s first congresswoman and re-elected four times, she was U.S. senator from 1949-73. Remembered for independence and character.

Best known for her abstract-expressionist boxes grouped together to form a new creation. She used found objects and everyday items. One of her works stands three stories high.

Anthropology and psychology

She became famous for her gender role studies of the cultures of the Pacific Islands, Russia and the U.S. Authored several classic books.

Helped form Southern Christian Leadership Conference of which Martin Luther King Jr. was president, important for organizing Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Writing, politics and diplomacy

She was managing editor of Vanity Fair and author of several successful plays, including The Women. Ambassador to Italy, 1953-56.

Ross devoted 50 years to winning federal recognition of the Stillaguamish Tribe in the Puget Sound area of Washington State.

Photography and photojournalism

Important international photographic chronicler of people and events in war and peace. One famed picture: "Gandhi at His Spinning Wheel."

Russian-born, Rand wrote important fiction, notably The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. She espoused a philosophy of rational self-interest.

A Ph.D. from Yale (1934), Rear Adm. Hopper was one of the earliest computer programmers and a leader in software development concepts.

Goeppert-Mayer won the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics, professor of Physics at UCSD, La Jolla, California, National Academy of Sciences member.

The environment, marine biology

Author of lucidly written books on ecological themes. Most famous for Silent Spring, a critical examination of chemical pesticides.

Dr. Apgar developed the Apgar Score, whose five items help physicians and nurses to determine if a newborn requires emergency care. The score is now standard worldwide.

Four-time Academy Award winner for best actress, Hepburn combined her statuesque looks with a bold, plucky acting style.

This superathlete won three track and field Olympic medals and 31 LPGA titles. Famed for self-confidence and competitive spirit.

Claudia Taylor (Lady Bird) Johnson

First lady during Lyndon B. Johnson's administration instrumental in promoting the Highway Beautification Act, founded Lady Bird Wildflower Center.

First lady during Richard M. Nixon's administration after her father's death at 18, Pat worked part time to obtain her degree, graduating cum laude from USC.

Tuchman was a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize (The Guns of August, and Stillwell and the American Experience in China: 1911-45).

Parks' refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 1, 1955, sparked the modern civil rights movement.

Civil rights and journalism

After segregation was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, she led the fight to integrate Little Rock, Arkansas, schools from 1954-1957.

An actor, comedienne and singer, Raye entertained and even nursed troops for 50 years. Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree.

The premier distance swimmer of the1950s, she became the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways (1950, ’51, ’55).

Newspaper and magazine publishing

She was the influential president and publisher of the Washington Post from 1963-93. The paper is famed for its Watergate investigation.

Master of scat singing, she toured with such greats as Duke Ellington and the Oscar Peterson Trio. She performed internationally.

First lady during Gerald R. Ford's presidency, co-founder of the country's leading treatment center for alcoholism and drug dependency.

Political activism, writing

Attorney and Congresswoman, Abzug worked for a variety of progressive causes, especially women’s issues. She was a noted author.

First African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry (Columbia University, 1948). Holder of various professorships. Focus: nucleic acids.

Author of the revolutionary book: Feminine Mystique, co-founder of National Organization for Women (NOW).

First lady during Ronald Reagan's presidency and championed the "Just Say No" to drugs program for school-aged children.

Co-winner of the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology, assisted in developing a technique to measure minute quantities of insulin in the blood.

Made famous as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz," Garland was one of the greatest stars of Hollywood's Golden Era of musical film.

Author of Sex and the Single Girl, a book about the positive benefits of single life revived foundering Cosmopolitan magazine

At the 1948 Olympics in London, Coachman was the first black woman and only American woman to win a gold medal in that year's Games.

A Democrat, she was the first black woman elected to Congress (1968). Also the first black woman to run for president in a major party (1972).

Political activism, writing

Republican activist against the feminist movement. Testified against the Equal Rights Amendment. Author of several books.

First lady during George H.W. Bush's presidency, warmly received by public and press as "everybody's grandmother" mother of six children articulately frank.

Completing 30 motion pictures, Monroe became an American icon and worldwide sensation before her mysterious death.

First lady during Jimmy Carter's presidency, vice chair of The Carter Center, which promotes peace and human rights worldwide.

A poet, historian, author, civil rights activist, producer and director, she composed and read verse at the Clinton inauguration in 1993.

Opera direction and conducting

She founded the Opera Company of Boston in 1957. In 1976, she became the first woman to conduct at the Metropolitan Opera House.

Becoming a diplomat later in life, Shirley Temple was perhaps the most famous child star in history.

Aid to needy children actor

Special ambassador to UNICEF, she worked to help poor children. 1953 Academy Award winner for Best Actress in “Roman Holiday.”

First lady during John F. Kennedy's presidency. By "inspir[ing] an attention to culture never before evident at a national level," she brought grace and sophistication to the White House.

Known as the First Lady of civil rights, Coretta carried on the dreams of her husband, Martin Luther King Jr.

Holder of the record for the most comet discoveries (32) as well as more than 800 asteroids. Took up astronomy at the age of 51.

She became the first woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. She felt the court's role was to interpret the law, not legislate it.

Religion, social outreach, civil rights

She became the first woman bishop of the Episcopal Church (also a first for Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy).

Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 1970. Arnold Guyot Prize honoree for Arctic research.

The founding director of the Congressional Budget Office (1975), she has held several other governmental and professorial positions.

The first woman to anchor TV nightly news, on ABC. Correspondent, then co-anchor of 20/20. She has interviewed numerous famous people.

Won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature and a Pulitzer Prize in 1988, she is a master of dialog and richly depicts Black America.

Plath wrote poems of stark self-realization and confession, was the first to win the Pulitzer Prize posthumously.

First Jewish woman and currently only female justice on the Supreme Court. Strong advocate for women's rights and civil rights in general.

Articulates women’s issues with lectures and on TV. Helped found several women’s organizations. Founder of Ms. Magazine.

Children’s and civil rights

Founder and president of Children’s Defense Fund. Originally a 1960s civil rights activist. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Winner of three gold medals in the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

Space does not allow a complete list of all the important and famous women in American history, but from the days when women could not be one of the "founding fathers" and annual awards would exclude women when calculating the "Man of the Year," important women have made huge strides, the significance of which cannot be overestimated.

6. Tet Offensive

With the US and South Vietnamese soldiers focused on Khe Sanh, North Vietnam launched attacks on over 100 towns and cities in South Vietnam on 30 January 1968 to coincide with Tet, the Vietnamese New Year. VC and Communist sympathizers attacked military bases, government offices, and foreign embassies. They also executed thousands of civilians.

The attacks continued until March 28 when they were finally repelled. Though North Vietnam lost, it won a major psychological victory. Back in the US, support for the war waned and calls to withdraw from Vietnam grew louder.

This was the turning point and the start of South Vietnam’s defeat.


Dahteste was a Choconen Apache woman warrior, and being married and having children didn’t stop her to participate in many raiding parties together with her first husband Ahnandia.

Later in her life, she joined the legendary Geronimo, together with another famous woman warrior called Lozen.

Besides being a brave and skilled as a warrior, she was also fluent in English and served as a messenger and translator for the Apache.

Dahteste became a mediator between the U.S. Cavalry (sometimes serving as their scout) and Geronimo. She played an important role in his final surrender in 1886.

Find out more

Green Sleeves: The Story of the WVS/WRVS by Katharine Bentley Beauman (Seeley, Service and Co, 1977)

The Story of the W.R.N.S. by Eileen Bigland (Nicholson and Watson, 1946)

WWII British Women's Uniforms by Martin Brayley and Richard Ingram (Windrow and Green,1995)

Put That Light Out by Mike Brown (Sutton,1999)

Women in Uniform Through the Centuries by Elizabeth Ewing (Batsford,1975)

Wartime Women - a Mass Observation Anthology by Dorothy Sheridan (Phoenix Press, 1990)

Land Girl by Anne Hall (Ex Libris, 1993)

The Long Weekend by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge (Hutchinson, 1985)

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