June Willenz, Champion of Women in the Military, Dies at 95Breaking News
tags: veterans, obituaries, military history, gender equality, US military, womens history
June A. Willenz, a longtime human rights activist and champion of women in the military, died on May 3 in Bethesda, Md. She was 95.
Her daughter Pam Willenz confirmed the death. She said Ms. Willenz had had a heart attack after emergency hip surgery.
Ms. Willenz was an advocate for women in the armed forces at a time when they were largely ignored. Her 1983 book, “Women Veterans: America’s Forgotten Heroines,” provided one of the first comprehensive examinations of women in the armed services. It exposed inequities between men and women and led to congressional hearings, as well as to improved benefits, services and career opportunities for women.
As devoted as she was to women veterans, Ms. Willenz never served in the military herself. Her focus on the subject was sparked by a broader interest in social injustice.
She was also the driving force in establishing the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The memorial honors women who have served in the nation’s armed forces since the Revolution.