National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company, Inc: Poster entitled 'As a War Measure' offering a long list of things 'the country is asking of women' and a single item that 'women are asking of the country'. American women won their fight for the vote in 1920 (Image courtesy of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies)

US Centennial tribute to women of World War I

Posted on on 03 April 2017
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The US Centennial Commission has paid tribute to the vital role played by American women in WW1 ahead of this week's events marking US entry into the Great War in April 1917.

Women moved from a supporting role to responsibilities that expanded America's war effort, the Commission points out.  For the first time, they were officially attached to branches of the military and government.

"The Great War was transformative for women, it served as a catalyst for women’s suffrage, professionalised women in the military and helped women prove they were capable of doing work typically done by men," says Dr Libby O'Connell, US World War I Centennial Commissioner and Chief Historian Emeritus at the History Channel.

The US Government established an advisory committee, the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense, headed by suffragist Dr Anna Shaw, to coordinate women’s war efforts. 

Women entered the workforce, performing tasks traditionally done by men who had gone to war.


Their new roles and responsibilities increased support for giving women the vote after decades of struggle, a right granted by the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920.

Leading American women were recognised for their efforts during the First World War.

The philanthropist, Julia Hunt Catlin Taufflieb, was the first US woman to be awarded the French Croix de Guerre and Légion d’honneur, for converting the Chateau d’Annel, near Compiègne, into a 300-bed hospital close to the front line.

Social researcher and reformer Mary Abby Van Kleeck set the standards for women working in the war industries and was appointed head of the Women in Industry Service agency established within the Department of Labor. This later became the United States Women’s Bureau, now part of the US Department of Labor.

America's national ceremony marking the centenary of the  declaration of war in 1917 - 'In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace' - takes place at the National World War I Museum & Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, on Thursday (April 6). The schedule is now available on the US WWI Centennial Commission website.

Also in Centenary News:

Congress and the World Wars - Centennial exhibition at the Capitol Visitor Center, Washington DC.

'Remembering World War I is essential' - US Centennial Commissioner Dr Monique Seefried.

Source: US World War One Centennial Commission

Images courtesy of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies

Posted by: CN Editorial Team