Female Warriors (02:03)
The Amazons are the earliest celebrated female fighters and have fierce reputations. Dr. Kate Gilliver discusses separating myth from reality and the role of women in ancient societies.
Some believe those who followed the queen of the Iceni viewed her as a goddess. She leads a large-scale revolt against Roman invaders in 60-61 AD. Gilliver reflects on Boudicca's leadership. Cleopatra participates in the Battle of Actium.
Historical Gender Roles (02:57)
During the Dark Ages, society reinforces women in domesticity. Later, tales of violence perpetuate the idea of women needing protection; legal restrictions for women increase. The Church increasingly defines parameters for women during war time.
Joan of Arc (03:38)
At age 13, Joan begins hearing voices telling her to push the English out of France. Religious fervor drives her military and moral endeavors. The English eventually capture Joan and burn her at the stake, making her a martyr.
Assuming a Male Identity (03:35)
King Charles I bans women in his military from wearing men's clothing. Women serve as soldiers in the English Civil War. Experts discuss Hannah Snell's identity as James Grey. Dressed as a man, Christian Davies searches for her husband.
American Revolution (03:15)
The country has no policies in place on how women can or cannot participate in war. History identifies three female fighters; Deborah Sampson volunteers in 1782. A uniform identifies one as different from civilians.
Catherine the Great (02:10)
The Empress of Russia seizes and holds power with the force of her intellect and personality. Catherine, well-known for her understanding of military strategy, often wears regiment uniforms.
Agustina Domènech (02:05)
Domènech participates in the Peninsular War, one of the bloodiest wars in Europe. The city of Saragossa epitomizes the horrors of the French Occupation. The "Maid of Saragossa" rallies the city's menfolk; she becomes a martyr.
American Civil War (04:28)
The war encompasses 10,000 armed engagements and 318 major battles. Approximately 620,000 combatants, die. The press highlights stories of women who get caught pretending to be men. Sarah Emma Edmonds and Loreta Velazquez write about their military service.
Flora Sandes (04:37)
In August 1914, Sandes serves as a nurse for the Red Cross in Serbia. She joins the Royal Serbian Army in 1915 and rises to the rank of sergeant major. Hear excerpts from Sandes' diary and see her gun.
Maria Bochkareva (02:49)
Bochkareva convinces Soviet War Minister Alexander Kerensky to allow her to establish an all-women battalion. She recruits 2,000 women but only 300 fight in battle; Florence Farmborough writes about their exploits.
Spanish Civil War (02:58)
Women in warfare becomes a political issue around the world. Women join the civil war as combatants; the Popular Front government removes them from the front lines in 1936. To Francoists, the Maid of Saragossa symbolizes heroism in an emergency.
World War II (05:30)
Hitler's Wehrmacht advances and English citizens endure The Blitz; Britain keeps women away from the front. Soviet women, including Lyudmila Pavlichenko, make significant war contributions. The Nazis view women primarily as breeders, but they play a role in the Final Solution.
21st Century Military (03:42)
Women have a more active role in the armed forces. Nicky Smith commands an RAF helicopter squadron; she reflects on female pilots. Corinna Peniston-Bird discusses the Military of Defense's report on women in the military.
Credits: Fighters (00:44)
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