Document Type

Book Chapter


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Publication Details

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


Having examined the trend for a greater integration of women in the international military, it is intended in this chapter to examine the integration and recruitment of women in the PDF. This represents the beginning of the main focus of the study. The documentary, statistical and interview data presented in the next four chapters form the bulk of the analysis of the status and roles assigned female personnel in the PDF. The analysis of status and role of women within the organisation is organised in the subsequent chapters as follows: 1. Role of female personnel It is intended to establish whether or not a gender division of labour exists within the ranks of the defence forces. As stated in the chapter on methodology, I intend to focus on the deployment of female personnel over the core, (combat, combat support) and peripheral (administrative) tasks of the organisation to establish if a segregation of the workforce on the basis of sex exists. The pattern of employment of female Officers, Non Commissioned Officers, (NCOs) and other ranks, (Privates) will be considered against the background of current international trends in the deployment of female military personnel provided in chapter 4. 2. Status of Female personnel I intend to examine the status of female personnel in terms of rank, and appointment within the force. It is also intended to examine the collective status, or ‘critical mass’ of female personnel within the organisation in terms of recruitment, numbers, and visibility. I hope to analyse their impact in terms of rates or advancement, profile, and power within the organisation to influence policy (Adler 1994, Reskin and Padavic, 1994). I intend to examine PDF policy on female personnel and any proactive or progressive policy that may or may not exist. It is my intention to examine the manner in which policy (in relation to recruitment, training, dress, deployment, overseas service and promotion) impacts on the working lives of female soldiers. This will in effect amount to an ‘equality audit’ of the PDF as defined by the EEA (1995); Neal (1998); Rees (1998); and Shaw (1995).