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Arms And The Enlisted Woman

Judith Stiehm

Publication Year: 2010

Published by: Temple University Press


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pp. vii

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pp. 1-8

This book is about America's most unknown soldiers-enlisted women in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines. It is also about the making of policies concerning enlisted women. Above all, it is an effort to explain why those policies so often appear to fly in the face of both logic and evidence....

I. The American Enlisted Women

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1. Overview: The Most Unknown Soldiers

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pp. 11-27

Enlisted personnel rarely emerge as individuals. When they do, It IS almost inevitably because of heroic acts of combat. Because enlisted women are relatively few and new, because they are not assigned to combat, and because ambivalence about their role continues, they are both individually and collectively an unknown quantity. In Appendix A a veteran of the U.S. Air...

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2. The Generations of Enlisted Women

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pp. 28-46

Recent policy changes have turned a single chronological generation of enlisted women into several attitudinal and behavioral generations, as interviews with enlisted women reveal. In this chapter the cohort method of analysis will be adapted to register important policy changes, with emphasis on how different...

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3. Backlash and Freeze [Contains Color Plates]

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pp. 47-79

As the previous chapter showed, military women experienced nearly constant progress toward equality from the late 1960s through the late 1970s. For a decade every change for women seemed to expand opportunity, to offer new (but not impossible) challenges, to reflect institutional respect and acceptance. Thus, a whole generation of women came to understand the military...

II. Making Policy for Enlisted Women

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4. Military Opinion

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pp. 83-107

In the military, as in most institutions, policy is based more on opinion than on evidence. Thus, the opinions held about military women are important, and those of senior men are especially important. Many studies of attitudes about and of military women were done during the 1970s. They reflect a variety of concerns and are therefore not completely comparable. Still, their findings are mostly compatible and also appear consistent with studies done...

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5. Litigation and Legislation

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pp. 108-133

Policies about military women are affected by legislation and litigation as well as by military opinion. Legislation specifically related to military women is minimal, but it is mightily constraining. On the other hand, litigation-especially against the Navy-has proven surprisingly effective in increasing women's options....

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6. Research

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pp. 134-154

In the fall of 1983, most of the community doing research on military women, as well as representatives of military policymakers from both Congress and the Pentagon, gathered in Chicago at a special meeting of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society.l This may have been the largest and most professional gathering of its kind; nevertheless, the climax of the meeting was...

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7. The Bottom Line: Accessions

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pp. 155-178

Qualified women volunteers cannot count on being admitted to the military. Enlistments are guided by detailed accession plans that prescribe or predict the number of women to be inducted. That number is the bottom line. It represents the resolution of forces for increasing and for decreasing women's military participation....

III. Meta-Influences on Policies

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8. Public Opinion

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pp. 181-192

President Jimmy Carter proposed draft registration for women and men following the December 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by Russia. But even before Carter had formally submitted his proposal, Speaker of the House Thomas P. O'Neill announced that the registration of women "wouldn't go," that it would be "anathema around here." I He was right; it did not go, probably not because Congress was so opposed to women's registration, but because...

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9. Biology, Sex, and the Family

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pp. 193-222

When civilians with unformed opinions about women in the military first begin to think about the subject, they often begin with biology. They question women's capacity, their fitness and strength; they ponder the meaning of sex between soldiers; and they reflect upon military families -particularly those in which mothers and wives wear uniforms....

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10. Myths Necessary to the Pursuit of War

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pp. 223-234

How is one to understand the competing and sometimes contradictory views, data, and analyses presented above? What sense can be made of the explanations given for policies enacted and rejected? Should one simply ignore the abrupt changes in accessions? Should one disregard the tenuous relationship between...

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pp. 235-242

When he retired as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1984, Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr., said, "The greatest change that has come about in the United States Forces in the time I've been in the military service has been the extensive use of women .... That is even greater than nuclear weapons, I feel, as far as our own forces...


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A. "I Am a Veteran ... "

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pp. 245-263

I am a veteran of the United States Air Force, in which I spent six years from 1974 to 1980. My job was jet engine mechanic, and I had attained the rank of staff sergeant at the time of my discharge. I entered the service in September 1974 shortly after the war in Vietnam ground to a military halt, if not a diplomatic one. The decision...

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B. Women at Sea

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pp. 264-268

Women have long been taboo at sea. There seems to be a sense that they do not belong there, and even that it is dangerous to have them there. Still, the Women at Sea Program that followed Judge John L. Sirica's decision in the Owens case was not completely...

C. Data on Enlisted Women

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pp. 269-286

Abbreviations and Insignia

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pp. 287-290


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pp. 291-305


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pp. 306-324


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pp. 325-331

E-ISBN-13: 9781439904787

Publication Year: 2010