New Opportunities for Military Women

Effects Upon Readiness, Cohesion, and Morale

by Margaret C. Harrell, Laura L. Miller

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While some headlines have accented the negative side of gender integration in the military, this study paints a brighter picture. Gender integration has had only small effects on the matters that count most: defense readiness, unit cohesion, and morale. Among the officers and enlisted personnel of both sexes who participated in the study, there is a consensus that leadership, training, and workload are the primary influences on how well their units function. They also agree that servicewomen perform about as well as men. However, there are some areas of concern, such as confusion and anxiety about what constitutes sexual harassment and how the charges are handled; perceived double standards about physical requirements, and the effects of pregnancy on the readiness of units that are already understaffed or that include disproportionate numbers of women. The authors encountered a wide range of reaction to the women's expanded presence and roles. Taken together, however, the surveys, interviews and focus groups yielded a positive portrait of life in the integrated military.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  • Tables

  • Summary

  • Acknowledgements

    Acknowledgments

  • Abbreviations

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Policy Interpretation and Current Status of Opportunities Available to Military Women

  • Chapter Three

    Effects of Gender Integration on Readiness

  • Chapter Four

    Effects of Gender Integration on Cohesion

  • Chapter Five

    Effects of Gender Integration on Morale

  • Chapter Six

    Additional Issues

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions and Policy Implications

  • Appendix A

    Methodology

  • Appendix B

    Additional Data Regarding the Status of Women's Opportunities in the Service

  • Appendix C

    Demographics of Population Studied

  • Appendix D

    Men's Questionnaire

  • Appendix E

    Women's Questionnaire

  • Bibliography

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