Women in a Man's Air Force: Why Are There So Few Women General Officers
AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE United States
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Women make up seven percent of total general officers in the United States Air Force compared to 21 percent women in the remaining officer ranks of colonel and below. Why is the percentage of women general officers in the Air Force significantly lower than the percentage of women officers in the ranks of colonel and below This thesis tests five hypotheses to better understand the disparity. Two structural hypotheses address rules-based barriers for promotion and retention and two cultural hypotheses address cultural norms that could provide barriers for promotion and retention. A fifth hypothesis, gendered organizations, asserts that women leave the Air Force before becoming eligible for general officer because they are subject to the negative effects of being women in a hypermasculine organization. While the first four hypotheses provide insight and background information to the research question, the gendered organization hypothesis offers a new way to look at the problem. Women officers must navigate a hypermasculine culture where they are required to exhibit enough feminine traits that they conform to expected gender norms, while also exhibiting enough masculine traits to be effective.
- Sociology and Law
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations