Women in the Sphere of Masculinity: The Double-Edged Sword of Women's Integration in the Military


Rimalt, Noya. 2007. “Women in the Sphere of Masculinity: The Double-Edged Sword of Women’s Integration in the Military.” Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy 14 (2): 1097–119.

Author: Noya Rimalt


This article focuses on recent findings regarding women's growing integration in the military, using the Israeli experience of gender integration in the Israel Defense Forces as a case study for exploring the ongoing feminist debate on women's military service. At the heart of this debate lies the question whether women's equal integration in the military promotes or hinders gender equality. The article seeks to add to this discussion by providing a more nuanced understanding of the ways in which women's growing integration in traditionally masculine spheres in the military impacts gender equality. More than a decade after the IDF has formally started to implement programs for gender integration in combat roles, this article highlights and analyzes not only sheer statistics regarding women's growing integration in non-traditional roles in the military, but also the subjective viewpoints of those who are part of this newly established reality. The article concludes that the Israeli feminist struggle for gender integration in the military provides an intriguing illustration of the complexity and the enormous difficulty of women's path to equality. While the Israeli military's critical role in determining status and equal citizenship in society seems to require women to be part of this highly important social institute, it is questionable whether the integrationist strategy will ever enable them to win the battle for gender equality from within.

Topics: Citizenship, Combatants, Female Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 2007

© 2024 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.