Coming from diverse backgrounds—including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Filipino—they served in important roles ranging from pilots and translators to factory workers and guerrilla fighters. Yet they worked on behalf of a country that was far from welcoming. From the time of their arrival in the mid 19th century, people of Asian descent were denied basic citizenship and voting rights for at least a century. For Japanese American women hoping to contribute to the war effort, the attack on Pearl Harbor ratcheted up barriers even further, as entire Japanese communities faced intense discrimination and incarceration in isolated prison camps. The Women Airforce Service Pilots WASP program, a division of the federal civil service, trained women to fly non-combat missions: testing military aircraft, transporting planes between bases, training male bomber pilots and hauling gunnery targets to be shot at with live ammunition. While Lee and Gee never met, both had similar upbringings.
Asian-American woman: 'They will always see you as an outsider'
We Must Reckon with the History of Asian Women in America
Yet despite the rich cultural diversity within this group—which together speaks more than languages, practices a wide variety of religions, and represents more than 50 ethnic groups—economic narratives often fall short of capturing the income and employment disparities that exist within it, particularly among AAPI women. It is past time to remedy that oversight, which has roots in racial, ethnic, and gender biases. In , there were an estimated Together, these women represent almost 3.
The Asian American Women Who Fought to Make Their Mark in WWII
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Asian American women understand that the alleged murderer of eight people in Atlanta was acting in keeping with a culture filled with racialized and sexualized views of Asian women. Of the people murdered, four women were of Korean descent and two of Chinese heritage.
Asian women in America know about having a really bad day. They know of days doing labor no one else is willing to do, days of touching hands and feet of indifferent women who refuse to make eye contact while getting their nails done or getting a massage, days of cleaning houses, days of hiding in fear without documents, days upon nights of this routine, repeated again and again. In the poetic language of Ocean Vuong , the most frequent English word uttered by salon workers is sorry. We know these bad days, because we have seen these lives up close, firsthand with our mothers.