Los 40 USA
Sign in to commentAPP
spainSPAINchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA


How many women are there in the US Navy? When were they admited for the first time?

Women have been involved with the navy for over 100 years though they have not always been in a combat capacity.

How many women are there in the US Navy? When were they admited for the first time?
Anadolu AgencyGetty

The fight for equal rights for women has taken many forms, not least the right to fight in foreign wars. That right has not existed for a long time for women despite the length of time women have been involved in conflicts.

The first women formally serving in the navy are known as “The Sacred Twenty” after the first nurses began their studies in the Nurse Corps in 1908. By the beginning of the First World War in 1914 this number had multiplied to 160. Women served in various roles, including as radio operators, camoflague designers, and torpedo assemblers. However, at the end of the war all women were released from active duty.

In the Second World War navy nurses were once again required for the myriad combat theatres around the globe. 84,000 women served in the navy which was about 2.5 percent of the total strength. Soon after the war, the passing of the Women’s Armed Forces Integration Act meant women could serve as permanent members of the armed forces.

It took until 2015 before women could apply for all combat roles. The first female admiral to achieve a four-star ranking was Michelle Howard who also became Vice Chief of Naval Operations in 2014, the second-highest position in the navy.

“There will be no exceptions,” said then defence secretary Ashton Carter. “They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men.”

How many women are in the US Navy now?

According to data from the Department of Defense there were 69,629 women serving in active duty in the navy in 2020, making up 20% of all navy staff.