139: From Yeomen (F) to “Hello Girls:” American Women in World War I

History That Doesn't Suck

Jul 31 2023 • 59 mins

“Is there any regulation which specifies that a Navy yeoman be a man?”  This is the story of the United States in the Great War and the role of women in that changing world. Women of the Progressive Era are all about change. They’re fighting for several reforms — including their own right to vote — and as the United States enters the Great War, they’re ready to embrace new responsibilities and opportunities. Women are stepping into all sorts of new roles, be that on a factory floor or by taking on non-combat roles in the Navy or Marines. Tens of thousands are at the front as nurses, while hundreds of others are not far behind the lines carrying out the indispensable task of communion — these are the US Army’s bi-lingual, quick-acting, and cool-headed switchboard operators, better known as “Hello Girls.”  From blood-soaked mobile hospitals to radium-filled “studios,” right down to musty office jobs, women play an indispensable part as the United States goes to war. But is the war changing the lives of American women? Or is the war just accelerating change already occurring? We’ll find out. ____ Connect with us on HTDSpodcast.com and go deep into episode bibliographies and book recommendations join discussions in our Facebook community get news and discounts from The HTDS Gazette  come see a live show get HTDS merch or become an HTDS premium member for bonus episodes and other perks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices