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 PDF

  • Tables PDF

  • Summary PDF

  • Acknowledgements

    Acknowledgments PDF

  • Abbreviations PDF

  • Chapter One

    Introduction PDF

  • Chapter Two

    Policy Interpretation and Current Status of Opportunities Available to Military Women PDF

  • Chapter Three

    Effects of Gender Integration on Readiness PDF

  • Chapter Four

    Effects of Gender Integration on Cohesion PDF

  • Chapter Five

    Effects of Gender Integration on Morale PDF

  • Chapter Six

    Additional Issues PDF

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions and Policy Implications PDF

  • Appendix A

    Methodology PDF

  • Appendix B

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

  • Appendix C

    Demographics of Population Studied PDF

  • Appendix D

    Men's Questionnaire PDF

  • Appendix E

    Women's Questionnaire PDF

  • Bibliography PDF

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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