To celebrate Women’s History Month, the Benicia Historical Museum will host a lecture by Kathy Williams, Women Who Worked in the Arsenal/Women in Science. The lecture is part of the Museum’s 25th Anniversary Celebration, is free and open to the public.
It is certainly appropriate to celebrate women, as the arsenal has a rich history of women in its workforce. During World War II and the Korean War, women formed nearly half of the civilian workers which, at times, ran as high as 6,700 employees. Around the country, over six million women worked in a variety of jobs from steel mills to day care. And let’s not forget the women in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Merchant Marines, as well as the original Coast Guard which had women lighthouse keepers as far back as 1856. On Mare Island, the first woman in that position, Theresa C. Watson, started in 1873.
In addition, many of these women also kept victory gardens, served as “spotters” for overhead planes, as air raid wardens along the coasts, wrote letters, sent packages of homemade goodies, and cared for their families and communities.