Awareness, Feminism | Posted by Julie Z on 07/15/2009

WWII Women Pilots Honored

 

W.A.S.P. Pilots in WWII

W.A.S.P. Pilots in WWII

 

The New York Times reports that the members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (W.A.S.P.) will receive the Congressional Gold Medal, one of America’s highest civilian honors. Out of more than 1,000 female pilots who were the first women to take control of American military planes, the 300 surviving members in addition to the deceased, will receive the medals. 

Apparently, during WWII these under recognized women filled in for the short supply of male pilots, but were still considered civilians, receiving no benefits or honors. 

Another example of awesome women being a side note of history. I honestly had no idea that this had ever happened — I’d always thought of the big female action in WWII-era America as being when women filled in for men at the factory. It’s cool to know that even though it was the ’40′s, women were still integrated into the action, whether anybody knew about it or not.

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  • Flackette @ at 9:07 am, July 15th, 2009

    Hi! If you’re interested in Women during WW II, I recommend the book “Our Mothers’ War” by Emily Yellin. The cover photo is actually the one you use here. It talks about women during WW II from all angles – on the homefront, in the military as pilots, nurses, WAVES and WACS – and even prostitutes who were sanctioned by the government to provide services to military men, (then treated terribly). It goes into great depth about the different roles women played during WW II, and is an engaging read (with some cool photos).

  • alison @ at 10:25 am, July 15th, 2009

    They have an awesome exhibit at Arlington National Cemeery on “Fly Girls” from that era.

  • Maggie @ at 4:56 pm, July 15th, 2009

    I love these kind of stories. I love reading about bad-ass women in times when they were expected to be at home cooking up a roast or something.

    Also, Julie, I wanted to say thanks for making this website. I’m a teenager and it’s really hard finding places that are both hilariously enjoyable and that connect with my feminist ideals. (I’ve recently found Jezebel, and am avidly investigating all your links!)

    Don’t let the haters get you down! You’re making a difference–promise.

  • Sara Anderson @ at 5:39 pm, July 15th, 2009

    I was amused/horrified when I found out that the fact that these women served was actively covered up. Uh, what? Is it really that threatening to see women as human beings?

  • julie too @ at 12:58 am, July 16th, 2009

    Another great book on women and flight is Stephanie Nolen’s “Promised the Moon.” It’s about the women who were supposed to be in the space program when they were just starting to put humans in space.

    Great site! I wish this had been around when I was in high school and everyone called me a feminist. Luckily, I grew up to find out that I was one!

  • J Hallaran @ at 9:24 pm, February 27th, 2010

    I am 57 years old and never knew this before. God bless these great ladies!

  • R Hooper @ at 4:38 pm, September 18th, 2010

    Just watched the BBC 4 Programme about the female pilots, incredible. Beeb repeat it, it was amazing!

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