Gender Inequalities in the Military Service: A Systematic Literature Review


Reis, João, and Sofia Menezes. 2020. "Gender Inequalities in the Military Service: A Systematic Literature Review." Sexuality & Culture 24: 1004-18.

Authors: João Reis, Sofia Menezes


This paper provides an in-depth analysis of the literature regarding gender inequalities in the military service. In doing so, it discloses challenges and opportunities for women’s integration and finds new avenues for future research. Recent scientific research has evidenced that women still represent a growing minority in most Western militaries. Women’s integration deserves equal opportunities across all branches and levels of responsibility in the military, however, their expansion to ground combat roles is still a challenge to the military and policy-makers. Scholars have also reported about the decision to increase the number of women in combat roles, as it may potentiate adverse experiences, due to closer proximity to men in circumstances with little or no privacy. Conversely, scientific research has shown that more egalitarian women reported significantly less sexual harassment victimization. Furthermore, our insights suggest that it might be fruitful to integrate women in ground combat roles as special forces’ operators, with a view to induce a reduction of marginalization and sexual harassment, by gaining respect in a male-dominant culture. The presented idea should be interpreted with caution and needs to be supported by empirical research; although we are convinced that future research will be revealing and might represent a game-changing situation to women inequalities in the armed forces.

Topics: Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Sexual Violence, SV against Women

Year: 2020

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