Women’s Armed Services Act of 1948 - American Education
A federal law that made women permanent participants in all branches of the U.S. Armed Services. The act opened important avenues of technical and professional education and job opportunities that had hitherto been closed to women. Although admitted to the Armed Services during World War II, women had been confined to all-female units and assigned jobs traditionally associated with women’s work— nursing, clerical duties, light transportation and low-level quartermaster functions. Moreover, servicewomen were often set apart in special, often physically isolated service organizations such as the WACs, WAVEs and WAFs. The act of 1948 represented a recognition of the essentiality of the work women had contributed during the war, and it sought to integrate women into the services to a degree that would make the military more attractive as a career.
Opposition to the integration of women into the Armed Services was more long-lasting than opposition to the integration of blacks, and it was not until the 1970s that barriers began disappearing and the number of women in the military began to increase substantially. Although still barred from combat roles, they gained access to almost the full range of even the most sensitive military operations as well as to the military academies and most postgraduate military colleges.