2 of 12
In the United States, many women found themselves in the position of having to defend their homes against the British during the Revolutionary War. Some, like Molly Pitcher, fought in battle while others, like American artist Patience Lovell Wright, smuggled secret information to American forces in Philadelphia.
3 of 12
During the Civil War, women in both the North and South threw themselves into fundraising and supplying troops with everything they needed. Others took a move active role, caring for sick and injured soldiers on the front lines or through the United States Sanitary Commission, formed to improve conditions in army camps and hospitals.
4 of 12
5 of 12
Women played an even bigger role in World War II. Approximately 400,000 U.S. women served with the armed forces and more than 460 lost their lives as a result, including 16 from enemy fire. Several hundred thousand women served in combat roles, especially in anti-aircraft units, while others filled out the home labor force front, nicknamed "Rosie the Riveters."
6 of 12
Members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots became the first women to fly military aircraft in 1942, taking on flight missions at bases across the country to free up male pilots for combat duty. Surviving members were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Barack Obama in 2010.