Sexism in the Military Is Alive and Well

Sexism in the Military Is Alive and Well

By Glamour

Sep 2, 2016

As of January 1, all combat roles in the U.S. military have been open to women. But that doesn't mean women soldiers are actually being treated the same way as men.

For a study published in Sex Roles, University of Kansas researchers interviewed male and female military personnel about their views on gender and the treatment they've received, and it's clear that while policies may have changed, the male-centered culture within the military hasn't.

Female soldiers reported feeling unfairly judged by their male peers, and American soldiers in particular doubted women's abilities. People of other nationalities who the women worked with while deployed tended to be more supportive.

The researchers also found that men were "policing the boundaries of gender in the military context," and since men still hold most of the leadership positions, they had the opportunity to reinforce gender inequality. For example, women were frequently being left out of the Special Forces, since men were usually the ones deciding who to accept.

These results show that the hard part of integrating women into the military is not physically bringing them in but "breaking down assumptions that are part of leadership within the organization and working on shifting the mindset of the military," study author Alesha Doan said in a press release.

Interestingly, many women reported feeling less defined by their gender when they were abroad. In Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, people perceived them more as American soldiers than as women soldiers. "Traditional assumptions about gender were displaced for American women by their identities as soldiers and Americans," author Shannon Portillo explained in the press release. "This allowed them to serve as additional assets to the military, without the assumed burdens based on their gender."

That's an attitude a lot of women could stand to see more of from their fellow troops.

More From Glamour:
• The Military Will Reportedly Lift the Ban on Transgender Service Members in July
• The Senate Just Passed a Bill That Would Require Women to Register for a Military Draft
• What Female Olympians Really Think About the Rio Games' Sexism Problem

• Stephanie Toti Just Won a Landmark Supreme Court Case

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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