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THE VETERANS' PRESS: Women in military history: Part 1

| April 19, 2021 1:00 AM

Women have formally been a part of the United States Armed Forces since the inception of the Army Nurse Corps in 1901, but have informally served since the inception of our nation’s military.

In 1948, Congress made women a permanent part of the military service. The Women’s Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 limited the proportion of women in the military to 2% of the enlisted force and 10% of officers. This limit was repealed in 1967. The end of conscription and the transition to the All-Volunteer Force in 1973 marked a dramatic increase in the opportunities available for women to serve in the military.

In 2014, there were 200,692 women in the Active component of the U.S. Armed Forces and 156,180 women in the Reserve and National Guard, representing 16.5% of the total military force.

While the proportion of women veterans is still relatively small, their numbers have been increasing over the past several decades and are projected to continue increasing into the future. The number of women veterans is expected to increase while the overall number of veterans is expected to decrease.

In 2015, women made up 9.4% of the veteran population, with an expected increase to 16.3% by the year 2042.

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