Women in Combat
This qualitative descriptive study aimed to provide clarity regarding the perceptions and experiences of women in SANDF operations. The project was contracted to Major General Ntsiki Motumi, Chief Director Transformation Management Services of the SANDF.
The study had four primary research questions, viz:
What successful experiences have women had of their involvement in military operations?
What are the unique contributions women make during military operations?
What are the challenges experienced by women in military operations?
What specific support requirements do women have in order to participate more fully in military operations?
The study was conducted on a national level within the SA National Defence Force. A convenience sample of 89 was drawn, using a structured interview schedule. Data collection took place in the first quarter of 2007 and the principle report was released in August 2007. It was well received by the Third National Conference on Women in Defence on 16 August. The presentation is available here.
I am currently working on two papers based on this study:
The first paper is called "Claiming space in the military: The experiences of South African soldiers". This paper adopts the metaphor of the military as a physical space (a terrain or turf) that has been occupied by men and hegemonic masculinity. The paper details various ways in which women in the SANDF are claiming space for themselves, and the various ways in which the military (both individuals and the system itself) challenge women's claim on space. The fundamental ambivalence in the military about integrating women is thus highlighted. The paper was submitted for publication in July 2008.
The second paper is tentatively called "Entering the Lionís Den: Feminist Reflections on Womenís Participation in the Military". This paper explores the various ways in which women construct their participation in the military from a range of feminist perspectives. I am hoping to complete this paper during the second half of 2008.
This page last updated: 20 July 2008