Role of Women (Military or home)

Jenna Ries

Importance of women

Women were very important during this time period. They gave up their sons, fathers, and husbands to the war effort. They had to care for their families at home and some helped in uniform. Some were nurses and helped the wounded soldiers get back to health.

Events leading up to WW2

Germany invades Poland and World War 2 starts. Lots of soldiers are hurt and killed during the war. Many people lose their loved ones due to the fighting. For the ones who were severely injured, they needed women there to nurse them back to health. Without women, they had no hope and lots more would have died to war wounds.


More than 59,000 American nurses served in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II. Nurses worked closer to the front lines than they ever had before. Within the "chain of evacuation" established by the Army Medical Department during the war, nurses served under fire in field hospitals and evacuation hospitals, on hospital trains and hospital ships, and as flight nurses on medical transport planes. The skill and dedication of these nurses contributed to the extremely low post-injury mortality rate among American military forces in every theater of the war. Overall, fewer than 4 percent of the American soldiers who received medical care in the field or underwent evacuation died from wounds or disease.

Land Girls

The Women's Land Army, known as Land Girls, was established to help boost the country's food production. The women took on jobs as farm labourers and carried out tasks in all aspects of agriculture.

Women on the home front

The traditional role for women was caring for their family. They had to wait at home while their loved ones were fighting abroad. Once their husbands got back, families had to get to know each other again. Many couples rushed to get married before their husband had to go overseas. Some women were called upon by the government to help assist the nation's efforts in industry, agriculture, civil defense, and community welfare. Women helped by supporting the armed forces. Women had helped with this during WW1 and were called upon once again to serve their nation in WW2. Percentage of women in the work force increases to 35%.

Women in uniform

Many women in uniform took office and clerical jobs in the armed forces so they could free the men from fighting. They also drove trucks, repaired airplanes, worked as labratory technicians, rigged parachutes, served as radio operators, analyzed photographs, flew military aircraft across the country, test-flew newly repaired airplanes, and trained anti-aircraft artillery gunners by acting as flying targets.

Women's Auxilart Army Corps- (WAAC) - consisted of women in no combat positions. Thousands of women enlisted and they got full U.S. Army benefits

Specific Women...


Lieutenant Elsie Ott was the first women to receive the U.S. Air Medal. She was a trained nurse and. She joined the Army Air Coeps in 1941 and was sent to India. She was assigned to the first evacuation flight with only 24 hours notice and she had never flown before. The plane had no medical equipment other than first aid kits. The patients had a variety of injuries, diseases, and mental illnesses and there was only one other army medic to help her care for the passengers. The plane made several stops to pick up more patients. Ott wrote a report while on the flight, recommending important changes for further evacuation flights. She returned to India a few months later and was promoted captain.


Natalia Peshkova was drafted into the Russian Army straight out of high school at age 17. She spent 3 years at the front with wounded soldiers from the front to hospitals. The soldiers were trying to fight diseases and starvation. She was wounded 3 times. Once the Germans moved into an area the Soviets held, she separated from her unit and had to disguise herself. She could not get rid of her weapon because she knew the Soviet Army would execute her for losing it, but she made it back to her unit undetected. As the war dragged on, she was promoted to Sergeant Major and given political education duties further from the front. After the war, she was awarded the Order of the Red Star for bravery.