Gender, Race, and the Military
In recent years. some Significant changes have occurred in the policies and composition of the u.s. armed forces, Especially with the introduction of the all-volunteer force and the end of the draft in the early 1970 s, the focus of the military shifted from training "good citizen-soldiers" to recruiting individuals who would enlist in the military in the same way that another person might take a job in the private sector. Now, in return for joining the military, a person is rewarded with a reasonable salary. medical and dental care, the chance to travel, educational opportunities, and other benefits (Stiehm, 1989). Since the introduction of the volunteer forces, considerable pressure has been placed on the military to recruit women. In 2009, for example, women made up approximately 20 percent of the total uniformed force. However, in spite of some changes in the gender composition of the military, certain analysts argue that it remains essentially a male-dominated world According to one military analyst, women must break through the "brass ceiling" if they hope to rise to the top of "a masculine institution" so that they can become a general or a flag officer (Women's Research & Education Institute, 2009). In addition to facing a brass ceiling if they attempt to rise through the ranks of the military, some women have also faced sexual assault. During 2008, for example, the u.s. military services reported an 8 percent increase in the number of incidents of sexual assault. About 63 percent of the reported incidents involved rape or aggravated assault; 251 incidents occurred in combat areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan (Kruzel and Carden, 2009). Although the U.S.Defense Department believes that this increase may be attributed to more people reporting incidents of sexual assault, government officials indicate that new policies have been established to reduce these offenses.