Institutional Discrimination against Women in the Armed Forces Essay

Institutional Discrimination against Women in the Armed Forces Essay

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In promoting freedom and equality, democratic countries throughout the world have been recruiting and admitting women into their armed forces. By opening the doors of a highly patriarchal institution to women, governments are said to be upholding gender equity and equality. However, the enlistment of women in the armed forces remains a heated subject of debate and controversy, given that women, across sectors and ranks in the military, continue to experience institutional-based discrimination.
The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW) defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion, or restriction on the basis of sex which has an effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women irrespective of their marital status on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedom in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any field” (UN General Assembly, 1979). The CEDAW has helped the inclusion of women into the military but not their integration.
Like many other institutions and organizations, the Armed Forces have policies and practices that produce differential and/or harmful effects on the minority while favoring the majority or the dominant group (Pincus, 1994; Pincus, 2000). Following the claims of Krosnell (2005) and Prividera & Howard (2012), the Armed Forces as a male-governed institution have produced and recreated norms and practices that discriminate against women.
First, in the recruitment of Armed Forces personnel, there exists a policy that limits the number of women to be accepted. In the Philippines, for example, the regular recruitment for the armed forces as a whole restricts the number of fem...


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...en and women continue to be emphasized both by the individuals and the institution in assigning roles and responsibilities.
The genuine integration of women into the institution can only be achieved when women feel that: they are not being devalued and discredited because of their feminine traits; they are not differentiated from their male counterparts based on their physical and emotional capacities; and they are free to achieve their full potential. These aforementioned standards and reforms are already stated in various instruments; in the Philippines, for example, these provisions are already embodied in the Magna Carta for women, which was passed and implemented beginning 2010. What is needed hereon is the political will to carry out the provisions and to make them successful so that institutional discrimination in the Armed Forces—and in others—is addressed.

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