Creating a new pathway for change in the military using gender as process

Jessica Williams, Sophie Yates, James Connor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Militaries have consistently struggled to integrate women into the profession of arms despite concerted, decades-long attempts at reform. We argue that this patchy progress is due in part to a conceptualization of gender as “category”, which has limited power to explain gendered inequalities. We propose that gender as process approaches must also be used to understand the current state of gender relations within militaries. A gender as process approach recognizes the dynamic, enduring, and complex set of gendered practices and systems that affect everyday interactions and social relations. Using this frame, militaries can develop an understanding of how these processes operate—particularly, as a form of resistance to gender equality in these “extremely gendered organizations”—and can develop improved strategies for change. We use the Australian Defence Force as our case study to illustrate how gender as category approaches dominate reform attempts and how the gender as process approach offers new insights on how to promote gender equality in the military.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)211-226
    JournalGender, Work and Organization
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2024

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