The Women’s Army Corps or the WAC was a section of the military specifically, as the name suggests, for women.  This branch of the army was formed in 1943 after much protestation by women that as Beatrice Hood Stroup, an avid Quaker and women’s rights activist said, “It wasn’t just my brother’s country, or my husband’s country; it was my country as well. And so this war wasn’t just their war; it was my war, and I needed to serve in it.”  They fought to fight alongside men in the army and were granted the right to fight in their own corps, which although it was not what they had originally wanted, was enough.  During World War II, women in the United States wanted to participate in military combat, but instead, had to protest for their right to contribute to the war effort. Their protest led to the creation of the Women’s Army Corps, which would go on to empower the women’s rights movement. To begin, World War II was a bloody war fought mostly by men with women on the sidelines helping on the sidelines to produce much needed war materials.  Then, in 1941, Edith Nourse Rogers, who was the first female state representative from Massachusetts, proposed a bill to the senate which would create the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).  Due to much controversy at the proposition of the bill, it was initially tossed aside by Congress.  Then in 1942, Edith Nourse Rogers reproposed the bill which was finally passed, and eventually led to her 1943 proposition of the bill that upgraded the WAAC to a full corps which was the WAC.  As the WAC, women fighting in the military got equal rights to health care, pay, and many other things which they before did not have.  After women were granted the right to join the army through the WAC, other branches of the military were formed for women such as the WAVES which was a part of the navy specifically for women, the SPARS a part of the coast guard just for women, and the OSS who were spies.  All of these groups had specific admission requirements.  As Julia Child once said, “The war broke out, and I wanted to do something to aid my country in a time of crisis. I was too tall for the WACs and WAVES, but eventually joined the OSS and set out into the world looking for adventure.” Despite the obvious need for extra military support during World War II, women were not allowed to join the military to participate in combat although they were allowed to participate as nurses.   Men believed that women entering war was a threat to the home front or as stated in the book Creating G.I. Jame: Sexuality and Power in the Women’s Army Corps During World War II, “Opponents characterized the female soldier as a dire threat to the home and family, and to the privatized gender relationships within them especially to the husband’s status as a breadwinner and head of household.”  Despite protestation from many men, women struggled to be allowed to fight in the army. Eventually, women were finally allowed in the military.  This occurred when threatened by unrest and much conflict, “Army leaders decided to work with Rogers to come up with a group that ‘would constitute the least threat to the Army’s existing culture.’ They compromised by creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC)”  Although they were not allowed to fight alongside men as they had originally wanted, women had their own auxiliary corps, which eventually turned into a full-fledged army corps.  Therefore a long campaign eventually ended in a settlement which had a great impact on women’s rights in the future. As women came back from serving in the military, they found that many jobs awaited them as they had proven themselves capable of much more than they were previously thought to be capable of.  Colonel McCoskrie, Colonel at Fort Des Moines stated that women were “a good deal more efficient than many all-male military outfits.” He also that that “There are no better soldiers anywhere on earth.” Despite the end of the war, the WAC and many of the other female branches of the military were still in operation and those that didn’t find jobs at home could always find themselves a spot as a WAC. The WAC disbanded in 1978 and the 150,000 members were divided into groups based on their previous jobs as WACs.  As of 2008, “212,000 women serve on active duty in the United States military, comprising 15% of the armed forces. In 1950, only 2% of American forces were female. This increase can be directly tied to the compromise of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, ‘one of the greatest wartime experiments this nation has ever undertaken.’ ”  Because of the creation of the WAACs and the WACs, women are now taken for granted in the military as well as in professions that were previously thought to be professions just for men. To conclude, the compromise that created the WAACs and the WACs had a great effect in the military as well as in women’s rights in general.  Without the the agreement that gave women the right to serve in the military as their own separate corps, women might not be allowed to serve in the military, or even to have jobs!  The formation of the WAC in the long-term effected women’s rights in the military and in general greatly.

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