Women and Gender Perspectives in the Military

An International Comparison

Robert Egnell and Mayesha Alam, Editors
Foreword by Amb. Melanne Verveer

An unprecedented cross-national analysis of successes and failures of attempting to integrate women and gender perspectives into the armed forces
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Women and Gender Perspectives in the Military compares the integration of women, gender perspectives, and the women, peace, and security agenda into the armed forces of eight countries plus NATO and United Nations peacekeeping operations. This book brings a much-needed crossnational analysis of how militaries have or have not improved gender balance, what has worked and what has not, and who have been the agents for change.

The country cases examined are Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Australia, and South Africa. Despite increased opportunities for women in the militaries of many countries and wider recognition of the value of including gender perspectives to enhance operational effectiveness, progress has encountered roadblocks even nearly twenty years after United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 kicked off the women, peace, and security agenda. Robert Egnell, Mayesha Alam, and the contributors to this volume conclude that there is no single model for change that can be applied to every country, but the comparative findings reveal many policy-relevant lessons while advancing scholarship about women and gendered perspectives in the military.

Table of Contents


Foreword by Ambassador Melanne Verveer

1. Introduction: Gender and Women in the Military—Setting the Stage
Robert Egnell and Mayesha Alam

2. Women in UN Peacekeeping Operations
Sabrina Karim

3. Sweden’s Implementation of a Gender Perspective: Cutting Edge but Momentum Lost
Robert Egnell

4. The Gender Perspective and Canada’s Armed Forces: Internal and External Dimensions of Military Culture
Stéfanie von Hlatky

5. The Role and Impact of Change Catalysts on the Netherlands Defense Organization: Integration of Women and Gender in Operations
Yvette Langenhuizen

6. Women and Gender in the US Military: A Slow Process of Integration
Brenda Oppermann

7. Women, Gender, and Close Combat Roles in the UK: “Sluts,” “Bitches,” and “Honorary Blokes”
Anthony King

8. Are Women Really Equal in the People’s Army? A Gender Perspective on the Israel Defence Forces
Hanna Herzog

9. The Case of Australia: From “Culture” Reforms to a Culture of Rights
Susan Harris Rimmer

10. Three Waves of Gender Integration: The Causes, Consequences, and Implications for the South African Armed Forces
Lindy Heinecken

11. Integrating Gender Perspectives at NATO: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
Charlotte Isaksson

12. Conclusion: Lessons of Comparison and Limits of Generalization
Robert Egnell and Mayesha Alam

List of Contributors


"Women and Gender Perspectives in the Military is a rich and diverse collection of research on the fits and starts of gender integration in militaries worldwide. It is engaging and accessible, a must-read for those interested in learning how (and if) women are included in many of the world’s leading militaries."—Laura Sjoberg, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Florida


Mayesha Alam Robert Egnell Susan Harris Rimmer Lindy Heinecken Hanna Herzog Charlotte Isaksson Sabrina Karim Anthony King Yvette Langenhuizen Brenda Oppermann Stéfanie von Hlatky

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Robert Egnell is a professor of military sociology and head of the Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership at the Swedish Defence University. He is the author or coauthor of several books including Complex Peace Operations and Civil-Military Relations, and Counterinsurgency in Crisis.

Mayesha Alam was formerly associate director of Georgetown University's Institute for Women, Peace and Security and is now a doctoral candidate in political science at Yale University. She is the author of Women and Transitional Justice: Progress and Persistent Challenges in Retributive and Restorative Processes.

278 pp., 6 x 9
2 tables
ISBN: 978-1-62616-625-7
Feb 2019

278 pp., 6 x 9
2 tables
ISBN: 978-1-62616-626-4
Feb 2019

278 pp.
2 tables
ISBN: 978-1-62616-627-1
Feb 2019

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