, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 33-64

Feminism and the exclusion of army women from combat

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Abstract

Although claiming to represent the views of military women on the combat exclusion policy, feminist activists actually represent only a minority of Army women. Most women soldiers do support opening the combat arms to women, however only on a volunteer basis and with physical qualifications for those jobs. Most Army women are not interested in serving in the combat arms, and roughly half do not believe they would be capable of doing so. A gap exists, then, between activists who deny differences between men and women and seek to bring women's policy in line with men, and women soldiers who support greater opportunities for women but who do not perceive most women as equally qualified for the combat arms as men. Furthering the gap between these activists and much of their constituency, the feminist framing of the debate has neither been tailored to fit the specific nature of the military as an organization (one which does not value individualist perspectives) nor the particular circumstances of the lives of military women (particularly enlisted and/or minority women).

She specializes in gender, rank, and race relations in the military, as well as U.S. participation in peacekeeping operations.