Female Soldiers--Combatants or Noncombatants? Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Female Soldiers--Combatants or Noncombatants? Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Female Soldiers--Combatants or Noncombatants? Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Female Soldiers--Combatants or Noncombatants? Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Synopsis

Goldman has done an exceptional piece of editing in this volume; the articles mesh well and are both provocative and thoughtful. The experiences of 11 different countries with women in relation to combat are assessed in historical and contemporary perspectives. The last three chapters deal with American views and problems. This is a solid work. The bibliographic material is thorough and the index is excellent. College and large public library collections. Choice

Excerpt

Female Soldiers--Combatants or Noncombatants? is the fruit of an international symposium on the role of women in the armed forces, sponsored by the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society and held at the University of Chicago in October 1980. The symposium was conducted in conjunction with the Twentieth Annual Conference on Armed Forces and Society. Participants from the United States and a half dozen foreign countries presented their findings, which were then critiqued and discussed. The unusual interest that the symposium elicited at the conference was striking evidence that the issue of women in the armed forces has come of age--in academic and military circles as well as for the general public. The papers that are most relevant to the issue and most representative of the variety of national experiences are reproduced in this volume. Although the broader context of women in the armed services is treated in all the papers, the principle focus is on the history of and the present-day experience of women in the armed services and on the prospects of women serving in wartime combat.

A decade ago such a focus would have been premature, if not out of the question, in most discussions either of the future of women or the future of war. At present it is unquestionably a burning issue and the idea of opening combat specialties to women in the U.S. armed forces has become one of central concern to the U.S. military and the U.S. government. During the past decade the United States has witnessed a dramatic increase in the utilization of women in its armed forces, and this trend is expected to continue well into the 1980s. With this augmentation of female personnel and with social pressure for equal employment opportunity for women, the armed forces have opened almost all military job categories and military occupational specialties (MOS) to women. Those remaining closed to them are direct combat specialties, such as service on combat vessels and aircraft and in combat branches, such as infantry and armor. It is over these residual exclusions that the controversy rages.

What has been the policy of other nations and of our own in the past on the issue of women at war? What is the present situation and the likely pattern of development? These are the principle questions addressed by the papers that follow. Part I presents examples from the historical and . . .

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