Three Waves of Gender Integration: The Causes, Consequences, and Implications for the South African Armed Forces


Heinecken, Lindy. 2019. "Three Waves of Gender Integration: The Causes, Consequences, and Implications for the South African Armed Forces." In Women and Gender Perspectives in the Military: An International Comparison, edited by Robert Egnell and Mayesha Alam, 207-24. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

Author: Lindy Heinecken


“South Africa has a long history of women’s involvement in war. Although many of the South African debates resonate with those of other countries in terms of gender integration, few countries have adopted such an assertive process of gender reform. Not only do women now serve in combat roles, but they represent more than a quarter of the fulltime forces. Added to this is the intersectionality of race, culture, and politics that plays out alongside and influences attitudes toward gender integration. The aim of this chapter is to discuss the systemic conditions that have facilitated women’s exclusion and inclusion during the three waves of gender integration and the tensions this has created over the past fifty years. To place the discussion in context, a brief outline of the unique security, political, and social contexts is provided for each wave of gender reforms. Hereafter how gender-equality and gender-mainstreaming initiatives have been implemented is described and reflected on. The last section evaluates what tensions gender integration has evoked and whether women’s increased numbers have shifted gender binaries” (Heinecken 2019, 207-9).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Intersectionality, Race, Security Sector Reform Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2019

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