The Menlo Roundtable

A WAAC at Tradition: How the WAAC Bill of 1942 Passed

Women and warfare. In most of American history, these categories had no Venn diagram overlap.

If you’re curious about the first steps to allow women to serve in the U.S. army, check out the careful scholarship of Meena Karamcheti in this paper. Her story of the first congressional bill allowing women to fill non-combat roles during wartime takes the reader through political, social, and economic history of the 20th Century. And the ultimate resolution to the many conflicts and tensions over women in the military took until the 21st. Meena notes that “at the beginning of 2016, seventy-four years after the WAAC became official, women were finally allowed to participate in all military positions as long as they met the different qualifications for the roles.” Today, in one of the more remarkable examples of how things can change over time, women serve in U.S. combat missions around the world.