Document Type

Book Chapter


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Clonan, T. Captain, (2000) Sisters In Arms, The Status and Roles Assigned Female Personnel in the Irish Defence Forces, Dublin, DCU.


The Promotion of Female Personnel Within the Irish Armed Forces The aim of this study, to critically examine the status and roles assigned female personnel in the PDF, has been addressed in a number of ways. The role of women in the PDF has been examined in chapter seven, in terms of the deployment policies and practices as promulgated by the military authorities. The pattern of women’s employment within a gender division of labour was charted through a number of unit audits. The women’s attitudes to this pattern of employment and their aspirations in this respect were also assessed through a simple analysis of interview data. In the chapter on training, an analysis of the PDF training environment, particularly as it impacts on women, gave some insights into the role envisaged for female troops, and their perceived status within a male dominated organisation. The issue of status, in terms of the numbers and visibility of women, was assessed in the chapter on recruitment. PDF policies in this regard were shown to have had an effect on any possible impact women may have had on the organisation by limiting the numbers of those eligible to apply for service and imposing quotas on the numbers of those selected for service. Issues of status were also examined in the chapter on deployment in terms of the appointments assigned female personnel over the primary and secondary roles of the organisation. The issue of status is now further examined in this chapter on promotion. There is a discussion of the criteria for promotion and how PDF deployment and training policies impact on women’s promotion opportunities in this regard. There is a simple analysis of figures in relation to female (other ranks) promotion and female officers’ promotion. There is also a qualitative insight into the perceptions of female troops in relation to their promotion prospects and their aspirations for promotion. The power or status of women within the organisation through this simple analysis can be assessed by applying the models outlined by Adler (1994) in terms of access to “strategic power” and Reskin and Padavic (1994) in terms of “autonomy” for female personnel. It will be of interest to note if the PDF operates to proactively promote women in the workplace in accord with EEA guidelines (1998) and in line with the spirit of equality of opportunity literature, or if indeed the PDF is a work environment hostile to equality of opportunity with an ad hoc and “informal promotion policy and a work culture that froze (sic) women out”. (Reskin and Padavic, 1994: 98-9)