Women had played minute roles in warfare throughout history, gradually transcending from plain caretakers of troops in camps to filling in crucial wartime jobs during the Second World War when America suffered a shortage of conscripts. The desperate need for more soldiers to be sent to the front during World War II meant opportunities for women to fill the labor force gap, allowing them to wiggle their way into other professions besides the defense industry.
Nevertheless, women have always played minor but important roles, as far back as supporting their male counterparts in defending or conquering territories—whether on the home front or alongside them on the battlefront.
Let’s take a quick review of women’s role in the military and their contribution to tactical advancements over time.
American Revolutionary War
During this era, fighting was still strictly for men however didn’t stop American women from supporting their counterparts in securing the country’s independence and breaking free from European colonization. While many take on traditional roles, such as nurses, seamstresses, cooks, and caretakers, some brave women risk their lives serving on the battlefield alongside their husbands or disguised as men. In contrast, others blend into the masses to operate as indistinguishable spies. Moreover, having women around camps made the lives of usually wounded and sick troops tolerable, with some helping to maintain high morale and hope in discouraged soldiers. As civilians, American women also played active roles, whether alerting troops to enemy movements, passing on messages and intelligence, or transporting contraband. When the war escalated, some would offer their homes as hideouts and secret meetup grounds for desperate troops as their camps were being tracked down or overrun.