Conceptualizing the Tensions Evoked by Gender Integration in the Military

TitleConceptualizing the Tensions Evoked by Gender Integration in the Military
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsHeinecken, Lindy
JournalArmed Forces & Society
Start Page202
Pagination202 - 220
Date Published04/2017

The South African military has adopted an assertive affirmative action campaign to ensure that women are represented across all ranks and branches. This has brought about new tensions in terms of gender integration, related to issues of equal opportunities and meritocracy as well as the accommodation of gender difference and alternative values. The argument is made that the management of gender integration from a gender-neutral perspective cannot bring about gender equality, as it obliges women to conform to and assimilate masculine traits. This affects women’s ability to function as equals, especially where feminine traits are not valued, where militarized masculinities are privileged and where women are othered in ways that contribute to their subordination. Under such conditions, it is exceedingly difficult for women to bring about a more androgynous military culture espoused by gender mainstreaming initiatives and necessary for the type of missions military personnel are engaged in today.

Short TitleArmed Forces & Society (0095327X)
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