Iowa Women in the Great War


"American Woman and the World War"


Chapter XX



     America was the first country in the world to give formal official recognition to women in the construction of its war machine, and to recognize immediately, upon a declaration of war, its woman power as one of its most valuable assets.

     On April 21, 1917, fifteen days after Congress formally declared that a state of war existed between this country and Germany, the Council of National Defense gave out this statement: "Realizing the inestimable value of woman's contribution to national effort under modern war conditions, the Council of National Defense has appointed a committee of women of national prominence to consider and advise how the assistance of the women of America may be made available in the prosecution of the war. These women are appointed as individuals regardless of any organizations with which they may be associated. The body will be known as the Committee on Women's Defense Work."

     By October 1,1917, the Committee had so far perfected its organization that the work was divided into twelve divisions as follows: Food Conservation; Food Production and Home Economics; Education; Woman in Industry; Social and Welfare Work; Liberty Loan; Health and Recreation; Child Welfare; Organization; Registration; Maintenance of Existing Social Agencies; Home and Foreign Relief.

    The work of these divisions, under their respective chairmen, will be described in subsequent chapters. An account will also be given of how the plan formulated and promulgated by the Woman's Committee has been worked out and developed in the various states.


-source: "American Woman and the World War", Introduction
-transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall for Iowa in the Great War