Women in warfare and the military (1900–1945)

This timeline of women in warfare and the military (1900–1945) deals with the role of women in the military around the world from 1900 through 1945. By the end of the 19th century, women in some countries were starting to serve in limited roles in various branches of the military. The two major events in this time period were World War I and World War II. Please see Women in World War I and Women in World War II for more information.

For articles specifically pertaining to the United States, see: Timeline of women in war in the United States, Pre-1945.

Timeline of women in warfare from 1900 until 1945 worldwide (except present US)

Halide Edip Adıvar
Kara Fatma
Şerife Bacı
Kang Keqing



World War I

  • Austria Viktoria Savs serves as a soldier in the imperial Austrian army in the guise of a man and is awarded with the Medal for Bravery (Austria-Hungary) for valor in combat for her service in the Dolomitian front.[15]
  • Australia: More than 3,000 Australian civilian nurses volunteer for active service.[16]
  • Britain: The British form the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1917; the Corps is renamed the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1918. Members of this corps serve as clerical staff, cooks and medical personnel. It is disbanded in September 1921. Also in 1917, the British form the Women's Royal Naval Service as a branch of the Royal Navy. Members of this corps serve as clerks, cooks, electricians and air mechanics. The British disband the unit in 1919.[citation needed]
  • Canada: Over 2,800 women serve in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps during the war. Women also receive training in small arms, first aid and vehicle maintenance in anticipation of being used as home guards.[17]
  • New Zealand: Nurses in the New Zealand Army Nursing Service serve on hospital ships and in hospitals at the front in France.[18]
  • Romania: During the 1916 battle in the Jiu Valley, Ecaterina Teodoroiu transfers from the Romanian Army's all-female nurse corps to the Reconnaissance Corps. She is taken prisoner while serving as a scout, but escapes after killing several German soldiers. In November she is wounded and hospitalized, but returns to the front; she is decorated, promoted to Sublocotenent (second lieutenant) and given the command of a 25-man platoon. For her valor she is awarded the Military Virtue Medal, First Class. On 3 September 1917 (22 August Old Style) she is killed in the Battle of Mărăşeşti (in Vrancea County) after being hit in the chest by German machine-gun fire. According to some accounts, her last words before dying were "Forward, men, I'm still with you!"[citation needed]
  • Russia: Russia fields 15 formations of female battalions for several months in 1917; two (the 1st Russian Women's Battalion of Death and the Perm Battalion) are deployed to the front. By the end of the year, all battalions are dissolved.[19]
  • United States: The United States Navy formally accepts women nurses into the Nurse Corps. The first twenty women are known collectively as the Sacred Twenty.




See also


  1. Lily Xiao Hong Lee, Clara Lau, A.D. Stefanowska: Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women: v. 1: The Qing Period, 1644–1911
  2. "Timeline – Women and War – Remembering those who served – Remembrance – Veterans Affairs Canada". Veterans.gc.ca. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  3. Fuchs, Eckhardt; Kasahara, Tokushi; Saaler, Sven (4 December 2017). A New Modern History of East Asia. V&R unipress GmbH. p. 189. ISBN 9783737007085.
  4. Yi, Pae-yong (2008). Women in Korean History 한국 역사 속의 여성들. Ewha Womans University Press. ISBN 9788973007721.
  5. "Timeline – Women and War – Remembering those who served – Remembrance – Veterans Affairs Canada". Veterans.gc.ca. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  6. Arrizón, Alicia (1998). "Soldaderas and the Staging of the Mexican Revolution". 42. MIT Press: 90–112. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. Ono (1989), pp. 74, 75.
  8. Edwards (2008), p. 48.
  9. Edwards (2008), pp. 48–50.
  10. Ono (1989), p. 78.
  11. Strand (2011), p. 105, 109, 110.
  12. Yui (1913), p. 92.
  13. Edwards (2008), p. 52.
  14. Ono (1989), p. 77.
  15. Reinhard Heinisch: Frauen in der Armee – Viktoria Savs, das „Heldenmädchen von den Drei Zinnen“. In: Pallasch, Zeitschrift für Militärgeschichte. Heft 1/1997. Österreichischer Milizverlag, Salzburg 1997, ZDB-ID 1457478-0, S. 41–44.
  16. "Australian War Memorial 2012 Exhibition". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  17. "CBC News in Depth: Canada's Military". CBC News. 30 May 2006. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  18. Barton Hacker; Margaret Vining (17 August 2012). A Companion to Women's Military History. BRILL. p. 201. ISBN 978-90-04-21217-6.
  19. Richard Stites (1978). The Women's Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, 1860–1930. Princeton University Press. p. 299. ISBN 0-691-10058-6.
  20. Hürriyet newspaper (in Turkish)
  21. Li 李, Kuiyuan 奎原 (2016). "Shangshiji sanshi niandai kejia nüxing geming shi yanjiu——yi Kang Keqing deng san ren wei lie 上世纪三十年代客家女性革命史研究—— 以康克清等三人为例 [Research on the revolution history of Hakka women in the 1930s: Kang Keqing and two other cases]". Dangshi Bo Cai 党史博采 (11): 9–10.
  22. Smedley, Agnes. The Great Road: The Life and Times of Chu Teh. Monthly Review Press 1956. Page 137
  23. "BBC – WW2 People's War – Timeline". www.bbc.co.uk.
  24. “Mary Converse (1872–1961),” in “Other Women and the Water,” in “Women in Transportation: Changing America’s History.” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation, March 1998.
  25. Converse, Mary Allen. Captain Mary: The Biography of Mary Parker Converse, Captain, U.S.M.M. Kings Point, New York: American Merchant Marine Museum, January 1987.
  26. Keely Damara. "First Asian American woman Navy officer honored in 'Born to Lead'". PCC Courier. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  27. The Forgotten Army: India's Armed Struggle for Independence, 1942–1945 . nb not to be confused with the British Indian Army, which by the end of the conflict numbered some 2.5 million combatants fighting on behalf of the allied cause.
  28. Women Against the Raj: The Rani of Jhansi Regiment By Joyce C. Lebra, p.X
  29. Women Against the Raj: The Rani of Jhansi Regiment By Joyce C. Lebra, p.xii
  30. Looking East to Look West: Lee Kuan Yew's Mission India By Sunanda K. Datta-Ray, p.71