Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Hannagan, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


United States--Armed Forces--Women; United States--Military policy; Political science; Gender studies; Military studies; Women and the military--United States; Women soldiers--United States; Sex discrimination against women--United States


This project investigates the gender integration policies of the U.S. Military between 1980 and 2013. I argue that gender integration policies highlight male service members and create a status of privilege. Policies enacted during the 1980s and 1990s recognized that in a technologically advanced military, more women could be used to fill roles previously reserved for men, yet women were prevented from filling every position and in some cases, faced discrimination. Male privilege was perpetuated through gender integration policy that used specific kinds of language, thus reinforcing the preferred masculine or male identity in the military. While in other instances, gender privilege was less evident, indicating acceptance of more gender neutral roles or equally representative of male and female service members. Consequently, the policies of the military generally set up a system where it is easier to follow "a path of least resistance" as opposed to challenging gender privilege (Johnson 2010, 80). The gender integration policies of the military tend to privilege the male soldier while reinforcing the dominant masculine identity of the institution. This may be done at the expense of the female soldier as well as unit cohesion and effectiveness. By using a hermeneutic phenomenological inquiry of 46 personal interviews, I provide evidence to support that the identities of the men and women who serve in the military may be impacted by gender integration policies.


Advisors: Rebecca J. Hannagan.||Committee members: Christina Haynes; Andrea Radasanu.


221 pages




Northern Illinois University

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