Women in warfare and the military (1945–1999)

This list is about women in warfare and the military from 1945 to 1999.

Timeline of women in warfare from 1945 until 1999 worldwide

Netiva Ben-Yehuda
Li Zhen
Rawya Ateya
Hassiba Ben Bouali
Ani Pachen
Dilma Rousseff
Dương Thu Hương
Tamara Bunke
Aminta Granera
Fay Chung
Gioconda Belli
Joyce Mujuru
Đặng Thùy Trâm
Roza Papo
Gioconda Belli
Nora Astorga
Comandante Ramona






  • 1981: 2nd Lieut. Inge Plug becomes the first female helicopter pilot in the Canadian military.[26]
  • 1981: Lieut. Karen McCrimmon becomes the Canadian Forces' first female air navigator.[26]
  • 1985: Women have been allowed into almost all operational functions of Norway's Armed Forces since 1985. The exceptions are the para-rangers and marine commandos, because as of 2011 no woman has met the entry requirements.[29]
  • 1985: The Women's Royal Australian Naval Service was completely integrated into the Royal Australian Navy.[5]
  • 1986: Rebecca Mpagi joined the National Resistance Army; she was the first Ugandan woman to join the army as a military pilot.[30]
  • 1986–1987: Alice Auma leads a rebellion against Ugandan government forces.[citation needed]
  • 1987: The first two female Royal Australian Air Force pilots enlisted: Robyn Williams and Deborah Hicks.[5]
  • 1988: Col. Sheila A. Hellstrom is the first female graduate of National Defence College in Canada. She becomes the first Canadian Regular Force woman to be promoted to the rank of brigadier-general.[26]
  • 1988: First female gunners in the Canadian Regular Force graduate from qualification 3 training.[26]
  • January 19, 1989: Canadian Forces soldier Heather Erxleben becomes the first female to graduate from a Regular Force infantry trades training course.[31]
  • 1989: Maj. Dee Brasseur became the first Canadian female fighter pilot of a CF-18 Hornet.[26]
  • 1989: The Canadian Human Rights Commission ruled that all obstacles to women's access to any military job must be removed, except for service aboard submarines and Catholic chaplains.[20]
  • 1989: Lorraine Francis Orthlieb became the first woman in the Canadian military to reach Commodore.[20]
  • Late 1980s: Latifa and Lailuma Nabizada become the first female graduates of the Afghan Airforce Academy. Lailuma eventually died in childbirth, making Latifa the first female pilot in Afghan history.[32]


  • Early 1990s: Jo Salter becomes the Royal Air Force's first female fighter pilot.[33]
  • 1991: HMCS Nipigon becomes the first Canadian mixed-gender warship to participate in exercises with NATO's Standing Naval Forces Atlantic.[26]
  • 1991: Lieut. Anne Reiffenstein (née Proctor), Lieut. Holly Brown and Capt. Linda Shrum graduate from artillery training as the first female officers in the combat arms in Canada.[26]
  • 1992: On July 13, 1992, 22 women began their naval training at INS Mandovi in Goa to become the first commissioned officers in the Indian defence forces. Prior to 1992, the Indian Navy enlisted women only in the role of doctor.[34]
  • 1992: Marlene Shillingford became the first woman to join the Snowbirds team in the Canadian military.[20]
  • 1992: The Australia government declared women could serve in all Army, Navy and Air Force units, except direct combat units.[5]
  • 1993: Lieut. (N) Leanne Crowe is the first woman in Canada to qualify as a clearance diving officer and is subsequently the first woman to become Officer Commanding of the Experimental Diving Unit.[26]
  • January 1, 1994: Comandante Ramona, an officer of Zapatista Army of National Liberation, takes control of San Cristóbal de las Casas, a Mexican city.[citation needed]
  • 1994: Maj.-Gen. Wendy Clay becomes the first woman in Canada promoted to that rank.[26]
  • 1994: Women officers have been allowed to do Short Service Commission in the Indian Air Force since 1994.[35]
  • 1995: Chief Warrant Officer Linda Smith is the first woman to be named Wing Chief Warrant Officer in the Canadian Forces, at 17 Wing Winnipeg.[26]
  • 1995: Chief Petty Officer, 2nd Class Holly Kisbee becomes the first woman Combat Chief of a major warship in Canada.[26]
  • 1995: Maj. Micky Colton becomes the first female pilot in Canada to complete 10,000 flying hours in a Hercules aircraft.[26]
  • 1995: A Norwegian woman, Solveig Krey, became the first female commanding officer of a submarine in the world when she took command of the first Kobben class submarine on 11 September 1995.[36]
  • 1995: Lieut. Ruth-Ann Shamuhn of 5 Combat Engineer Regiment becomes the first female combat diver in Canada.[26]
  • 1995: The Royal Norwegian Navy became the first navy in the world to appoint a female submarine captain.[citation needed]
  • 1997: The first woman officers to be posted onboard a warship in the Indian navy were Surgeon Commander Vinita Tomar and Sub Lieutenant Rajeshwari Kori, who in 1997 were posted on INS Jyoti, a fleet support vessel.[37]
  • 1997: Pyeon Bo-ra, Jang Se-jin, and Park Ji-yeon became the first women to enter South Korea's Air Force Academy, and as such were called the “first female red mufflers”.[38]
  • 1998: The Australian Navy became the second nation to allow women to serve on combat submarines. Canada and Spain followed in permitting women to serve on military submarines.[citation needed]
  • 1998: A woman became the first female commanding officer of a naval shore establishment in the Australian military.[5]
  • 1998: Brigadier Patricia Purves becomes the first British one-star general selected in open competition across the British Army. (The Women's Royal Army Corps, disbanded in 1992, had a 'tied' brigadier appointment.)[citation needed]
  • 1998: Although women had served as pilots during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and a few years thereafter, the Israeli Defense Forces had until 1995 denied women the opportunity to become pilots. After the prohibition was lifted, the first female graduate was F-16 navigator "Shari" in 1998.[6]
  • January 1999: Indonesian woman Cut Syamsurniati successfully leads a group of women to negotiate with the military when her village is attacked.[39]
  • 1999: Arlene dela Cruz became the first woman to graduate at the top of her class at the Philippine Military Academy.[40]
  • 1999: Australia obtained its first female Navy pilot.[5]

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-10. Retrieved 2014-08-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
    • Hungry Wolf, Beverly, The Ways of My Grandmothers, pp. 59–60, 112
  2. Ricanness: Enduring Time in Anticolonial Performance Sandra Ruiz · 2019 p.64
  3. "Women in the Military: a Bastion of Equal Opportunities". The Chosun Ilbo. 2009-09-05. Archived from the original on 2011-06-03. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
  4. Ford, Mazoe (2015-04-21). "Timeline: Key milestones for women in the Australian Defence Force – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  5. Norton, Bill (2004). Air War on the Edge – A History of the Israel Air Force and its Aircraft since 1947. Midland Publishing. p. 105. ISBN 1-85780-088-5.
  6. Kyodo News International, Inc., Gale Group (September 30, 2002). "S. Korea gets its 1st female fighter pilots". Retrieved 2008-06-25.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) [dead link]
  7. "IAF's first woman officer Vijayalakshmi Ramanan (retd) dies at 96". The Indian Express. October 21, 2020.
  8. Wu 吴, Zhife 志菲 (2003). "Li Zhen: cong tongyangxi dao kaiguo jiangjun 李贞:从童养媳到开国将军". Renmin Wang. Archived from the original on 8 July 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  9. Goldschmidt 2000, p. 26
  10. Karam 1998, p. 44
  11. Sullivan 1986
  12. Historical Dictionary of Algeria By Phillip C. Naylor, p.71
  13. Assia Djebar: Out of Algeria By Jane Hiddleston p.36
  14. Pachen; Donnelley, Adelaide (2000). Sorrow Mountain: The Journey of a Tibetan Warrior Nun. New York: Kodansha International.
  15. Encyclopedia of Censorship By Jonathon Green, Nicholas J. Karolides p.157
  16. "Grave of first female Peshmerga renovated". Rudaw.net. 2015-06-16. Archived from the original on 2018-06-27. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  17. Ogwuda, Austin (December 10, 2011). "Meet the first female army officer in Nigeria". Just Human. Archived from the original on December 18, 2011. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  18. When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, by Le Ly Hayslip
  19. "Timeline – Women and War – Remembering those who served – Remembrance – Veterans Affairs Canada". Veterans.gc.ca. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  20. "Ex-Guerrilla to be Brazil's First Female President". Archived from the original on November 4, 2010. Retrieved 2014-08-19.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) by Bradley Brooks, Associated Press, 31 October 2010. Retrieved from Internet Archive 11 January 2014.
  21. Haydée Tamara Bunke Bider: the woman who died with Che Guevara by Christine Toomey, The Sunday Times, August 10, 2008
  22. "Radhika Thapa becomes first female soldier to complete Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare Training (With a list of first females in Nepal Army)". My Republica.
  23. "Los "pecados" de Granera". La Prensa. 6 October 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  24. Re-living the Second Chimurenga: Memories from Zimbabwe's Liberation Struggle By Fay Chung
  25. "Women in the Canadian military". CBC News. May 30, 2006. Archived from the original on November 28, 2011. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  26. "Revista Envío – Women, Poetry, New Nicaraguan Culture". www.envio.org.ni. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
  27. Emiko, By. "Answering the call: The women on the front lines of Japan's defense". Wtva.com. Archived from the original on 2019-01-24. Retrieved 2019-01-24.
  28. "Women in the military – international". CBC News Online. May 30, 2006. Archived from the original on October 14, 2011. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  29. Okwera, Oyet (2012-06-13). "Uganda: First Woman Military Pilot (Page 1 of 3)". allAfrica.com. Archived from the original on 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
  30. Forster, Merna M. (2004). "This Month in Canadian Herstory: January". heroines.ca: A Guide to Women in Canadian History. Retrieved 2006-08-25.
  31. Shafi, Ahmad (September 15, 2011). "A Long, Turbulent Journey For Afghan Female Pilot". NPR. Archived from the original on December 13, 2011. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  32. Smyth, Chris (June 18, 2008). "Women on the front line". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  33. "20 yrs on, first women naval officers meet in Goa". The Times Of India. July 15, 2012. Archived from the original on January 18, 2016. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  34. "The Indian Air Force Just Got its First Female Flight Commander". VICE. 2019-08-28. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  35. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2015-02-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  36. "Will be eyes & ears of fleet, say Navy's first woman air combatants to operate from warship". September 29, 2020.
  37. "First South Korean female pilots become battalion commanders : The DONG-A ILBO". Donga.com. 2019-12-04. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  38. Marshall, Andrew (2003-04-28). "Cut Syamsurniati: In Aceh, a woman warrior fights against fear". TIME Magazine. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  39. "PMA's 1st woman topnotcher laid to rest | News | GMA News Online | The Go-To Site for Filipinos Everywhere". Gmanetwork.com. 2008-12-12. Archived from the original on 2016-01-18. Retrieved 2013-01-24.

Goldschmidt, Arthur (2000). Biographical Dictionary of Modern Egypt. American University in Cairo Press. ISBN 978-977-424-579-4. OCLC 237384904. Karam, Azza M. (1998). Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers (snippet view). Handbook series. Vol. 2. Stockholm: International IDEA. ISBN 978-91-89098-19-0. OCLC 186101396. |volume= has extra text (help)