Grounded? Female pilots, gender identity and integration into the Australian defence force

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Gender relations within the Australian Defence Force (ADF) have, in recent years, been under the microscope for two reasons. The first is due to the decision of the Australian government, with full support of the Chiefs of Staffs, to provide women with full employment opportunities in the ADF. Prior to this decision, 93 per cent of jobs were open to women in the ADF, the remaining seven per cent representing roles in the combat arms. Both the announcement and the leadup to the decision have created debate both within and outside of the defence force. Opponents to the move have expressed fears that women’s lack of capacity (physical and psychological) for combat roles will reduce the effectiveness of military operations, will distract men, will incite public outrage and disrupt male bonding. Those who support the lifting of all restrictions on women’s service base their arguments on lessons learnt, contending that women’s integration in the ADF which has steadily been occurring since the Second World War has not resulted in reduced military effectiveness and they remind dissenters of the necessity for both men and women to pass standards prior to entering the combat arms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbsent aviators
Subtitle of host publicationGender issues in aviation
EditorsDonna Bridges, Jane Neal-Smith, Albert Mills
Place of PublicationSurrey, England
PublisherAshgate Publishing Limited
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781472433404
ISBN (Print)9781472433381
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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