A significant proportion of women in the military still struggle to fit in with the masculine military culture and experience significant negative gender stereotyping and sexism, according to a major new report drawn from contributions from more than 30 organisations including charities, the NHS and the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The report, We Also Served: The Health and Wellbeing of Female Veterans in the UK, was undertaken by the Veterans and Families Institute for Military Social Research (VFI) at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), commissioned by Cobseo and supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement. It is the first research project to consider the full range of female veteran issues, capturing the lived experiences of women who have served in the UK Armed Forces.
The report suggests that women feel as though they must adopt masculine traits and accept masculine ‘banter’ to fit into the military environment, which may negatively impact on their psychological well-being during and after military service. It also found that a large proportion of women in UK research and MoD reports indicate that they have experienced significant negative gender stereotyping and sexual harassment during military service.
The report makes a series of recommendations on how to improve life for women during and after military service, such as addressing gender-related harassment, discrimination and bullying during service, more research into career progression for female personnel, and ensuring veteran support services are suitable for ex-servicewomen. There was concern over barriers to ex-servicewomen accessing support for veterans, as although many of the issues facing men and women upon leaving the Armed Forces are often the same, women are less likely to identify with the term ‘veteran’. Read more here.
Click on the image above to read the full report.