During World War II, women had the unique opportunity to come to the front lines of a war for the first time in history. Though there were many women who made a huge impact in their fields during the war, three stand out as being paramount. Those women are Clare Boothe Luce, Toni Frissell, and May Craig. There are many similarities between all of the women, as different as they were individually. First of all, unlike wars of today where 18 year olds find themselves as the front line soldiers, each of these women served their country in some way, shape or form well into their thirties, and in the case of May Craig, at the age of 50.
Each of the women contributed to the war effort through informing others, whether in be journalistic articles in the case of Clare Boothe Luce, war-time photos in the case of Toni Frissell, or news reports in the case of May Craig. May Craig, known for overturning war rules in regards to women’s suffrage, had the opportunity to provide first-hand accounts of the war, such as the V-bomb raids in London, the Normandy campaign, the liberation of Paris from the confines of an airplane or warship.
Toni Frissell felt like she had something to prove, after reporting on fashion for the bulk of her career. She wanted to prove that she had what it took to do a real reporting job, on news that was often of a dangerous nature. As a volunteer, Frissell offered her photography services to the American Red Cross, Women’s Army Corps, and Eighth Army Air Force. Her photographs were often used as publicity media, such as in the case of images of the African American fighter pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group that were used to encourage positive attitudes about the fitness of blacks.
Clare Boothe Luce, a congresswoman from 1942 to 1946, faced both bombing raids in Europe and the far east as well as an arrest in Trinidad as a result of a truthful article that she wrote about poor military preparedness in Libya. Women proved to be a vital asset to the United States during World War II. Today, women make up around 20% of the total military force, while outside of the military women also hold a high percentage of the broadcasting, reporting and photography jobs. Some would say that women’s jobs of today were paved by the women of yesterday, including Clare Boothe Luce, Toni Frissell, and May Craig.