Women in the Sphere of Masculinity: The Double-Edged Sword of Women's Integration in the Military

Citation:

Rimalt, Noya. 2007. “Women in the Sphere of Masculinity: The Double-Edged Sword of Women’s Integration in the Military.” Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy 14 (2): 1097–1119.

Author: Noya Rimalt

Abstract:

This article focuses on recent findings regarding women's growing integration in the military, using the Israeli experience of gender integration in the Israel Defense Forces as a case study for exploring the ongoing feminist debate on women's military service. At the heart of this debate lies the question whether women's equal integration in the military promotes or hinders gender equality. The article seeks to add to this discussion by providing a more nuanced understanding of the ways in which women's growing integration in traditionally masculine spheres in the military impacts gender equality. More than a decade after the IDF has formally started to implement programs for gender integration in combat roles, this article highlights and analyzes not only sheer statistics regarding women's growing integration in non-traditional roles in the military, but also the subjective viewpoints of those who are part of this newly established reality. The article concludes that the Israeli feminist struggle for gender integration in the military provides an intriguing illustration of the complexity and the enormous difficulty of women's path to equality. While the Israeli military's critical role in determining status and equal citizenship in society seems to require women to be part of this highly important social institute, it is questionable whether the integrationist strategy will ever enable them to win the battle for gender equality from within.

Topics: Citizenship, Combatants, Female Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 2007

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