A Few Good Men and Women: Gender, Race, and Status in the Wartime Volunteer Military

TitleA Few Good Men and Women: Gender, Race, and Status in the Wartime Volunteer Military
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMacLean, Alair
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Date Published08/2018

This article aims to assess the questions of the socioeconomic characteristics of the men who came of age after the start of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how race and status of female recruits varied. To do this, it develops a theoretical model building on the status attainment and life course traditions. It uses data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002, which contains information about a national sample of people who became eligible to join the armed forces during the height of the wartime volunteer era. It does not find evidence that low-status and minority men were disproportionately likely to enlist. Indeed, those with low-status were less likely to do so, partly because they were excluded by military standards. Men were particularly unlikely to join the armed forces, however, if they grew up in high-status rather than families in the middle of the status distribution. By contrast, women were most likely to join the armed forces if they came from the lower-middle than from anywhere else in the status distribution. Minority men were no more likely than white men to enlist, but black women were disproportionately likely to join the military. [from author]

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