Women and the Military


Kennedy-Pipe, Caroline. 2000. “Women and the Military.” The Journal of Strategic Studies 23 (4): 32-50.

Author: Caroline Kennedy-Pipe


Debates about the relationship between women and the military have become common within Western societies. These debates primarily centre on the issue of the place, fitness and desirability of a female presence within institutions designed for national war making. There are those who claim that equality betwen the sexes demands the full integration of women into national militaries, including in combat roles, others however argue that women are ill‐equipped for the traditional tasks required of ‘warriors’. This article argues that these debates are increasingly irrelevant. Future wars are increasingly less likely to be fought only by clearly defined national combat forces and more likely to be ‘virtual’ wars involving the deployment of Western technologies against militarily inferior opponents. This too is an age in which Western states will be engaged not just in virtual wars but in ‘humanitarian intervention’, peacekeeping, enforcement and postwar reconstruction. This allows, even encourages, a rethinking of traditional notions and debates over the place of women within the military sphere.

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

Year: 2000

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