The Foreign Service Journal, April 2022

46 APRIL 2022 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Jeannette Lafrance APioneeringForeignServiceWoman The upheaval of World War II opened opportunities for adventurous women, including in the U.S. Foreign Service. BY LAR I SSA MOSE L EY Larissa Moseley is a first-tour consular officer serving in Cairo. She joined the Foreign Service in 2019 out of Baghdad. In more than 13 years of experience, she has worked primarily in conflict environments, for the U.S. Marine Corps, the State Department and the United Nations Development Program, as well as in the private sector. J eannette Lafrance, who joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1946, was on the cutting edge of women’s history in the United States. As the country was being transformed by the economic, social and political upheaval of the World War II era, Jeannette signed up—again and again—for opportunities newly opened to women. Despite being borne out of the hor- rors of world war, these opportunities were a breakthrough for women with ambitions for public service, work and adventure beyond America’s borders. Amid the uncertainty of the period, with the United States finding itself at the forefront of global affairs for the first time and newly at the helm of maintaining peace and security, women like Jeannette stepped into the arena with tenacity and courage that is difficult to appreciate in modern times. The Foreign Service reopened employment opportunities for women following World War II, albeit limited to specific roles and only for unmarried women. For women to travel, let alone work abroad, without a male companion was unusual. This was when the Cold War was Jeannette Lafrance joined the U.S. Army WAC in 1943 and served until 1945. She was deployed to Hollandia, New Guinea, as a decoder in the Signal-Intelligence Corps. FS HERITAGE COURTESYOFTHELAFRANCEFAMILY