Women have long served the U.S. military, serving first in support and civilian roles. Not until WWI could women enlist. This DBQuest looks at the changing roles of women in the military, focusing on the post-World War II period to the present. Students will examine Congressional testimony in support of women serving as permanent members of the Armed Forces, an oral history from the first Black woman to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, and a 2015 press release announcing that all roles in the Armed Forces now will be open to women. Students will also consider the challenges women faced as barriers to their participation were lifted.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Defense Education Program (NDEP) for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education, Outreach, and Workforce Initiative Programs under Grant No. HQ0034-21-S-F001. The views expressed in written materials or publications, and/or made by speakers, moderators, and presenters, do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Defense nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


Students will be able to...

  • Use evidence from informational texts to support analysis and answer question
  • Identify why some people are called to serve in times of conflict
  • Discuss how women’s roles in the military changed after World War II