Women’s History Month lends an opportunity to touch upon the career of a woman from an earlier generation who blazed an advancement trail for future Corps of Engineers women.
In July 1917, 24-year-old Winnie W. Cox passed the departmental clerk civil service examination. Although she had completed a two-year college degree and was a teacher the previous three years, before 1919 women were excluded from taking more than half of all civil service examinations and were overwhelmingly limited to filling clerical positions. Miss Cox was hired in the Quartermaster General’s Office of the War Department earning $1,000 a year.
By 1940 she had progressed to a CAF 6 (clerical, administrative, and fiscal services grade) chief clerk in the building section of the military construction division. In December 1941 the Corps of Engineers took over military construction responsibilities from the Quartermaster Department and Miss Cox became a Corps employee.