Women served in the military since the Revolutionary War, when they worked as nurses, water bearers, cooks, laundresses and saboteurs.
In the Civil War women disguised themselves as men to serve in combat.
The pressing demands of World War II led many countries to call on women to bolster their armed forces, in jobs ranging from nurse to front-line soldier.
Hundreds of thousands of American women served in the U.S. military during that war, and U.S. women were allowed to fly military aircraft for the first time. Some countries desperate for fighters, like the Soviet Union, put women in combat roles.