Looking back in time, the initiation of the Navy WAVES may seem a bit sexist to some in today’s world, but it was a sign of the times and a fact of life in the days of World War II.
The United States Naval Reserve (Women's Reserve), better known as the WAVES for the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, was the World War II women's branch of the United States Naval Reserve. It was established on 21 July 1942 by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 30 July 1942. This authorized the U.S. Navy to accept women into the Naval Reserve as commissioned officers and at the enlisted level, effective for the duration of the war plus six months. The purpose of the law was to release officers and men for sea duty and replace them with women in shore establishments.
Here are some authentic cartoons from the days of old, depicting the Navy WAVES and how they were perceived in those days. Some of these cartoons were actually printed in All Hands Magazine!