University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications

Title

Why Women Join the Military: Enlistment Decisions and Postdeployment Experiences of Service Members and Veterans

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Date

10-1-2015

Document Type

Article

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; *Career Choice; Female; Humans; Interviews as Topic; Middle Aged; Military Personnel; Motivation; Qualitative Research; Veterans; Women

Disciplines

Psychology | Sociology

Abstract

Over the past three decades women's enlistment has continued to increase. In an effort to help social workers better meet the needs of female veterans, this study sought to learn women's enlistment motivations and postdeployment experiences. This qualitative study was nested within the Women Veterans Cohort Study. Using a semistructured interview guide, authors interviewed 18 enlisted female service members and veterans. The themes that emerged, based on grounded theory, included not only opportunity and calling, but also outcomes. Unexpectedly, enlistment resulted in a professional military career, with over half of the participants making the military their life's work. Further study on the motivation, retention, and the reintegration needs of women postmilitary is necessary, particularly with military recruitment targets of 20 percent women by the year 2020 and the increased awareness of the military as a potentially hostile work environment for women.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Soc Work. 2015 Oct;60(4):315-23. doi: 10.1093/sw/swv035. Link to article on publisher's website

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Keywords

female service members, military, reintegration, women’s employment

PubMed ID

26489352