Gendering Combat: Military Women’s Status in Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union during the Second World War


Fieseler, Beate, M. Michaela Hampf, and Jutta Schwarzkopf. 2014. “Gendering Combat: Military Women’s Status in Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union during the Second World War.” Women’s Studies International Forum 47, Part A (November): 115–26. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2014.06.011.


Authors: Beate Fieseler, M. Michaela Hampf, Jutta Schwarzkopf


The militarization of women during the Second World War, unprecedented in both quantitative and qualitative terms, has been accounted for variously, though unsatisfactorily, with regard to the impact on the warring nations' gender order. Using national variations in the accessibility of combat functions to women, the degree of pressure exerted on a given war-time society's gender order is explored by comparing Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union, which differ markedly regarding both the military exigencies placed upon them and the degree of female militarization adopted. The comparative perspective reveals differences in what dimensions are perceived as problematic in the relation of gender and combat and what are the conditions shaping this perception. Secondly, the conditions become apparent under which combat functions are made available to women, and thirdly, the long-term effects of the reconfiguration of the gender order under war-time conditions can be explored.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries

Year: 2014

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