Washington, DC - The Navy joins the nation in celebrating Women's History Month throughout the month of March 2018.
ALNAV 007/18 encourages participation in all the heritage celebrations and special observances throughout the year. This year, Navy commands are encouraged to celebrate and reflect on the theme "Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination."
Women have served in the Navy as nurses dating back to the 1800s, most notably during the Civil War when the Sisters of the Holy Cross served aboard USS Red Rover, the Navy's first hospital ship. In 1948, women gained permanent status in the Navy with the passage of the Women's Armed Services Integration Act.
"Women's History Month is a time to reflect on and express gratitude to the trailblazers who demonstrated unparalleled courage, tenacity and vision, sometimes in the face of systemic headwinds, to chart a course for today's women who proudly and honorably serve in the U.S. Navy," said Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare/director of naval intelligence.
Over the last century, women have served aboard auxiliary ships beginning in 1978 and on combatant ships beginning in 1994. In 2016, the Department of Defense opened all military occupations and positions to women.
Female Sailors and civilians play an integral role in the success of the Navy as part of the One Navy Team. Women serve in every rank from seamen to admiral and hold nearly every job from naval aviator to deep-sea diver. Twenty percent of the Navy's enlisted force is women, including eight percent of all senior and master chiefs. Nineteen percent of the officer force and 10 percent of all admirals are comprised of women.
In the Navy's civilian workforce, 27 percent are women and 26 percent are Senior Executive Service members.
According to the September 2016 "One Navy Team" memo from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson, actively being inclusive and open to diverse perspectives will produce leaders and teams who learn and adapt to achieve maximum possible performance, who achieve and maintain high standards, and are ready for decisive operations and combat.
Diversity also influences various thoughts, ideas, skill sets and experiences which ultimately helps increase the effectiveness of the Navy. Integrating Sailors and civilians from diverse backgrounds enables the Navy to recruit and retain the nation's top talent from a wide pool of skilled personnel.