Warfare and Women's Changing Role in the United States Military

Publication Year



Women, military, warfare, U.S. history, military history


Military History | Social and Behavioral Sciences | United States History | Women's History


Operation Desert Storm was a watershed for women in military. It focused an unprecedented amount of public attention on women's roles and capabilities in the military. Like their male counterparts, women faced many of the dangers associated with war, including both injury and death. At the time, there were 221,138 women serving out of a total of 2,033,000 military personnel. Of this, 40,000 women were deployed, making up seven-percent of the total U.S. forces deployed. Although legislation and policy stated that women could not be in positions or units where there was a risk of combat or coming in contact with enemy forces, eleven women died and two were taken as prisoners of war. Following common guerilla practices of war proved easy and the enemy forces targeted U.S. support and medical units. These targets, where the majority of women were concentrated, had less fire power, armor, and training than units on the front lines. As a result, women were vulnerable regardless of legislation and not "officially" being in combat.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status


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