“A Mother’s Duty to Her Children”
"The issue of protective legislation for women and mothers has divided reformers, labor unionists, legislators, courts, the military, and feminists since the end of the 19th century when a number of states passed statutes to limit women’s work hours. At issue—equal treatment versus biological difference. During the Cold War era, this question informed the debate on the role of women in the military. Although the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 established a permanent presence for women in all branches of the armed forces, a new Army regulation in October 1949 required the discharge of female servicewomen with children under the age of 18. To guarantee passage of the Armed Forces Reserve Act of 1952, during the Korean War, a provision was dropped that would have reversed this regulation. Thus mothers of dependent children were ineligible to enlist in reserve units and were discharged after childbirth or adoption. In the following Congressional session, the Senate passed S. 1492, allowing the reinstatement of women with dependent children. The bill, however, died in the House Committee on Armed Services and failed to become law. The following testimony of Women’s Army Corps Director Colonel Irene O. Galloway, to the Senate subcommittee on S. 1492, presented the Department of Defense position opposing the bill. Galloway argued that in the event of an emergency mobilization, such women could not and should not be counted on to leave their duties as mothers to join activated units. In the 1970s, Congress finally passed a law that allowed women with dependent children to enlist."