Militarization and Gender: The Israeli Experience


Golan, Galia. 1997. “Militarization and Gender: The Israeli Experience.” Women’s Studies International Forum 20 (5-6): 581–86. doi:10.1016/S0277-5395(97)00063-0.

Author: Galia Golan


The major effect of militarization on the status of women and gender equality derives from the centrality accorded the army in Israeli society. In a society engaged in war or protracted armed conflict the army assumes an essential and critical role in the lives and views of its citizens. Insofar as the army is a patriarchal institution, it is these patriarchal values, norms and stereotypes that will be promulgated and reinforced as the young citizen moves from adolescence to adulthood in his and her obligatory military service. The different nature (and length) of this service for men as distinct from women, combined with the different way in which the military service of the two sexes is perceived both by the military and the society at large, and the advantages accrued to the men, as distinct from the women, all contribute to the inequality of women in Israeli society. The essentiality of the male--because of his dominant role in the army (as distinct from the female's merely subordinate role) and the attributes achieved by the male through his combat service (from which women are barred), render the male more "valued" by a society at war, that is, a society for which military security is the central preoccupation. How this effects women's interest in peace is a controversial question, only partially addressed by research and women's peace activism in Israel.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarization, Peacebuilding Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 1997

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