SOCIAL SCIENCES

Women and the Military: Global Lives in Focus

ABC-CLIO. (Women and Society). Apr. 2021. 270p. ISBN 9781440860225. $63. REF
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In this overview of women and militaries, Beitler (comparative politics, U.S. Military Acad.; Women’s Roles in the Middle East and North Africa) and Gerstein (international relations, U.S. Military Acad.) touch on every region of the globe. Chapters are devoted to the U.S. and Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania. The authors discuss benevolent and hostile sexism, the association of masculinity and warfare, historical and current roles of women in war and peacekeeping, and more. Consideration of sexual harassment is disappointingly brief for every region but Australia; for the U.S., for instance, Beitler and Gerstein cite unspecified programs and efforts. They explore other issues around the integration of women into military organizations (like the argument that the presence of women weakens unit cohesion and effectiveness) and sociocultural views regarding women’s participation. A great deal of the data here is supported by citations, but the abundant information is often disjointed and not always effectively organized, expressed, or analyzed. There are a chronology (1572–2019) and extensive bibliographies (at the end of each chapter, as well as at the conclusion of the volume).
VERDICT This work’s wide range (albeit limited by data availability) will make it a useful initial source for students of sociology, women’s studies, and the military.
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