Session: Interrupting the Male Driven Narrative with a Feminist Perspective on the Integration of Women in the US Military (Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Conference - Achieving Equal Opportunity, Equity, and Justice)

16 Interrupting the Male Driven Narrative with a Feminist Perspective on the Integration of Women in the US Military

Schedule:
Thursday, January 11, 2018: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Independence BR G (ML 4) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Military Service Members, Veterans and Their Families
Speakers/Presenters:
Heather DeShone, MSW, University of Houston, Kate Hendricks Thomas, PhD, Charleston Southern University, Jackie Malfucci, PhD, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Sarah Plummer Taylor, MSW, University of Denver
As Social Workers, our concern for the dignity and worth of people and passion for social justice define our profession. These core values are a call to action to serve the marginalized, advocate for those facing discrimination and give voice to those who are not heard. Our research, practice and policy work is guided by these values. With these values in mind, this roundtable discussion will leverage the knowledge of experts within the field to educate on and spark discussion around the integration of women into the US military. The session will lead with a discussion of the historical role of women and evolution of their service as it relates to current integration issues. Current trends related to integration, from policy, research and media, will be presented and explored. The discussion will conclude with an analysis of gaps in knowledge and recommendations for future research. With more than 200,000 women currently serving on active duty, women are essential to the success of todays all volunteer military force. Yet the service of women in such large numbers is a relatively new phenomenon. In 2016, 14,000 new positions were opened for these women with the lifting of restrictions on combat service for women. Following the discovery of nude pictures and sexually disparaging comments directed towards female service members on social media, the integration of women into all branches of the US military once again came under scrutiny. This incident, coupled with high profile incidents of abuse of female military recruits by their drill instructors, has led some to question the appropriateness of integrating women fully into male units. Still others have expressed concerns about the structure of military training and whether it facilitates or undermines gender integration in the armed forces. Current research on women in the military is largely pathology based, focusing on trauma and abuse. Further, there is a lack of a female voice within the literature which much of the research being conducted by males. Contemporary research places a focus on military sexual trauma and its associated mental and physical consequences, yet few studies have looked at how women are integrated from initial military training (boot camp) through their time in the service. The hypothesis being that how women are integrated early in the military experience, impacts their integration throughout their service. The panel will be comprised of a female PhD Social Work student, an MSW, and two PhD Psychologists, all of whom are veterans or work within the veteran/DoD community. These experts will provide suggestions, based on experience and the literature, on recruiting and engaging this population. Participants will leave situated within the current literature, better prepared to conduct targeted research within this population.
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