Two Major Accomplishments for Women During the Civil War
The surge of female participation in the workforce and the abolition of slavery represent two major accomplishments for American women during the Civil War years. During the war itself, the women's suffrage movement paused as women diverted their energy to "war work." For the first time in American history, women came together by the thousands to join wartime volunteer brigades, work as nurses, and support aid societies. Suffragists also worked on behalf of the anti-slavery movement, a policy success that helped women develop campaign techniques that would ultimately be employed in their fight to win the vote.
1 Work to Support War Effort and Abolition
With the occupation of men into military service, women entered occupations previously reserved for men, taking jobs as bookkeepers, shop clerks and secretaries. Women gained particular prominence for their work as nurses, with many caring for injured soldiers at the front lines. Female-led anti-slavery societies emphasized a moral pressure to release African-Americans from the bonds of slavery and campaigned for racial equality. The passage of the 13th Amendment, which guaranteed the freedom of African-Americans, strengthened the campaign for female enfranchisement in the United States. Women, however, would not receive voting rights until the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.