Leaving China & the
Journey Across the

Cultural Traditions

Women in Early

Anti-Chinese Violence
& Women's Resistance

Chinese Women at


Women in Cultural

The Great Depression
and War


Additional Resources




Dr. Margaret Chung was a successful San Francisco surgeon who had a strong interest in naval aviation. Chung developed friendships with aviators who called themselves “the sons of Mom Chung.” 57  One of her “sons” became a congressman from Minnesota, and in March of 1942, in response to a phone call from Chung, he filed the first legislation to create a female branch of the Navy. Dr. Margaret Chung is known as one of the earliest supporters of women in the Navy. 

Hazel Ying Lee.
Courtesy of Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc.

The smallest women’s military organization, the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), endured the most war-related fatalities, and Hazel Ying Lee was one of 38 WASPs who died in the service of their country.  Her China-born parents paid for private flying lessons she took along with her brothers in Portland, Oregon.  As a licensed pilot, Lee went to China in 1937 hoping to join its air corps, only to be rejected because she was a woman.  

When the WASP began in 1942, Lee quickly enlisted.  She flew for two years, and was tragically killed late in 1944, when another plane hit hers during an ice storm. 58

Julia Larm Ashford.
Courtesy of Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc.

After the end of World War II, individual Chinese Americans continued to serve in the U.S. military, despite enduring gender barriers. Julia Larm Ashford followed her WAC service in the Pacific Theater of Operations by participating in the occupation of postwar Germany.

Click here to see more images of Chinese American servicewomen.