Female Leadership in Combat Units Military Author's essay

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Female Leadership in Combat Units


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The research proposal is outlines a study into whether women should lead during combat situations. The hypothesis is that reasons to keep women out of leadership positions in combat are socially constructed, and not attributed to anything biological or psychological. The methods will mimic some of the methods presented in military studies into the same area, with individual modifications for this particular study. The plan of analysis includes ANOVA, and descriptives. The results of the study could lead to a greater understanding of how institutions manage and process change.

Female Leadership in Combat Units

The equality and guaranteed rights of women in the United States have been issues a part of American history and American culture for most of the country's history. What women fight for changes with time. Over the past several decades, women have sought more social freedoms, freedoms where they may participate as equals alongside their male counterparts. Most recently in the latter part of the 20th century and the 21 century, American woman have advocated for the right to participate in the military and not just participate, but to have the right to serve in leadership positions, specifically leadership positions in combat situations. The problem is significant because the formalized right of women to lead in combat is new. Whenever there are new advances or new changes, the transition is debated. The proposal questions whether women should lead in combat units. The kinds implications this decision or problem has are great and could affect society in ways that are unpredictable, or those such that the problem begins a series of subsequent actions that progress the struggle of women's rights in ways not previously imagined or considered.

The literature review for this proposal consists of several located primary sources from women who are a part of the military. These primary sources include case studies and research studies conducted by institutions run and operated by the military. These pieces of literature should provide strong evidence and strong methodology by which to consider the research question. The literature is not completely one sided, even the pieces that are from women in the military. The literature review additionally includes articles from reputable newspapers with differing opinions. Some articles support women in combat; some do not. Some articles express a tension and indecision regarding this issue. The literature review will cover a lot of ground and a wide spectrum of opinions. This kind of variation in the literature review is a strong context within which the research will be conducted, interpreted, and considered in relation to the context. This variation also sets a more objective and fair stage for the research and analysis. Too much literature that heavily favors one side of the debate or the other expresses and implants a kind of bias in the study that is unnecessary and may distort the research. The variance increases the objectivity of the study such that the researcher cannot be accused of deciding the outcome of the research before the research is completed.

The research question stands as, should women be permitted to lead combat units? The hypothesis is that there is no physical, or psychological reason why women should not be allowed to do so, and any hindrances placed in their way are cultural and social. The null hypothesis is that there are many reasons why women should not lead in combat and they may be physical, psychological, social, or otherwise. The independent variables are women in the military and combat situations. Dependent variables may include the number of women or ratio of women in the military who have combat training, the nature of the combat situations (their objective or purpose), and the conditions & outcomes of the combat situations. A dependent variable may also be the number of women in each branch of the military, as this question may be moot in areas where there still are no women in a specific branch because the military is not fully, sexually integrated.



The researcher is considering to sample an equal amount of women and men for the study. Men and women who are currently in the military should serve as participants. Other relevant participants should be veterans, both male and female, and civilians, male and female. Those who serve in the military are directly affected by their service and the research question, but so are their families and their communities, who may not serve, yet are directly affected by their service just the same. Sampled participants should be as young and as old as possible. People can join the military when they are 18 years old. There are also still veterans alive who have served in WWII (the last known veteran of WWI recently died) and other subsequent wars or combat situations waged by the United States. This is an issue that is cross cultural and cross generational, therefore, the participants sampled should reflect the spectrum of the times that have changed.

Before sampling participants, research about the demographics of military personnel should be studied and referenced to understand the averages and extremes of the military population, such that they are as accurately and widely reflected in the participants who are sampled for the study. For example, white men are often in the military and have the longest history of participation in the American military, therefore, there should be white men sampled. The 21st century has seen an increase in Latinos in the military, therefore they should be sampled as participants as well, and so on. There should also be participants with military families, meaning people who have families where there is a tradition of military service. Often these people have strong opinions regarding the military, strong loyalty to military conditions, and unique perspectives regarding the changes the military has endured over its history. Such participant would prove invaluable. Returning to the idea of civilian participants, they have value as well. Military officers return home to families and communities. They are affected by the absence and the presence of their friends and family serving in the military. They are a part of the society that creates and sustains the social constructs and contexts within which the research question is considered. In other words, they are a part of the society that creates the atmosphere in which the research question is asked, therefore their perspective should prove valuable in the study, too.


Interviews are necessary. These interviews would gather statistical data such as age, ethnicity, age, and branch of the military. The interviews would also gather information regarding the specific nature of military service (as much as can be disclosed that is not classified). Some of the more superficial information could be gathered via a survey, performed in person or online, for example. The interviews, though, should be conducted in person, or at least via video chat when not possible so that tone of voice, facial expression, and other forms of nonverbal communication can be documented and integrated as part of the information gathered as well.

High scores for these interviews and any surveys conducted would connote a high value participant. A participant whose statistical information, lived experience, and opinion provide deep insight, context, and interpretive value to the research question and hypothesis. There will be participants who will not care or will not have any opinion on the matter. These participants would receive low scores. Participants who have extreme opinions on either side of the debate are valuable. Participants that are indecisive and provide substantial reasoning behind their indecision are valuable. Such participants would all receive high scores.

Some of the citations on the measure may include whether the participants are inactive or on active duty. The citations may note what branch of the military, the number of years in service, and whether the participants provided domestic or international service, or both. Citations may also note if the participant is a part of a military family, a veteran, and even the circumstances under which they were discharged, when applicable. Some of the methodology for this research could be lifted and transposed from the primary sources that are studies performed by the military itself.


Background research on the demographics of the military population would be conducted first. Information and statistics about the population over a long period of time would prove the most useful. Initial surveys to locate prime participants would come next. After the surveys revealed or hinted to the most valuable participants, interviews would be conducted. Informed consent would have been gathered at the earliest stages of the study because of various levels of classification on military operations. The study does not wish to compromise anyone's career or reputation by participating in the study. Therefore the limits that participants place upon their consent will be respected as far as possible so as they do not severely hamper or render useless that person's participation in the study. The interviews may include the participants being presented with studies and research…[continue]

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