Regendering the Military: Theorizing Women’s Military Participation

TitleRegendering the Military: Theorizing Women’s Military Participation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsDuncanson, Claire, and Rachel Woodward
JournalSecurity Dialogue
Date Published02/2016

This article considers how, in the light of contemporary military transformations, feminist theorizing about women’s military participation might be developed to take account of an emergent reality: the inclusion of increasing numbers of women in a range of roles within armed forces. A brief overview of established debates within feminist scholarship on women’s military participation is provided, and we explore the trajectory of feminist strategies for change within both militaries and other institutions. The promise and limitations of mainstreaming gender into security institutions, as a consequence of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, are discussed. The article argues that existing feminist critiques often remain deterministic and have too readily dismissed the possibilities for change created by women’s military participation, given the context of military transformations. Drawing on the idea of the regendered military, the article presents a conceptual strategy for considering how feminist theorizing about the gender–military nexus can take seriously women’s military participation while remaining alert to feminist political goals of gender equality, peace and justice.

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