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Rediscovering Womanpower

"Rediscovering Womanpower: American Servicewomen in the Cold War," featuring Dr. Tanya Roth

When World War II ended, women gave up their jobs so returning soldiers could go back to work, but that’s only part of the story. During the war, thousands of Rosie the Riveters had worked jobs on the homefront, but thousands more also volunteered for military service. American servicewomen provided such essential support that military leaders began looking for a way to keep using womanpower. In 1948, the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act offered women permanent roles in the U.S. military, along with the promise of equal pay and unique opportunities. Today, women’s military service in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s is often overlooked and forgotten. Compared to now, small numbers of women served, but the set important groundwork for women’s military service. In these decades of the Cold War, servicewomen not only fought for the equality they were promised, but also helped redefine women’s equality on their own terms.

Dr. Tanya Roth earned her history PhD from Washington University in St. Louis and teaches high school and middle school history at MICDS in St. Louis, Missouri. Her research has been recognized by the American Association of University Women, and in 2019 an early version of Her Cold War received the Society for Military History’s Coffman First Manuscript Prize. Dr. Roth’s writing has been published in The Washington Post, History News Network, and Public Seminar. Her Cold War: Women in the US Military, 1945-1980, explains how women gained a permanent role in national defense after World War II, defined as equals with servicemen. In the following decades, servicewomen and their advocates continually fought to redefine “equality,” laying the groundwork for women’s service today.

This event is sponsored by Annandale’s DEI Committee and takes place Thursday, March 24from 1:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. For information on how to attend or accommodation requests, please contact Ed Aymar.

Location: Virtual