Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Deborah Avant, Ph.D.


Civil military relations, NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Women in military, Women's movements


Women have become an essential part of Western militaries. Particularly concerning the experience of NATO militaries in Afghanistan, there has been much public attention on the role of women in the military. While Western militaries are often studied as a whole with regards to military operations, there is variation in both how women are employed in the military and the experience they have as service members. This dissertation seeks to understand the cause of this variation by examining three critical cases: France, Norway and the United States.

In this dissertation, I argue foundational beliefs about gender equality affect the institutional trajectory of military integration. Thus, variation in how gender equality is defined and operationalized across the Western world help explain the variation in women's integration into militaries. The differences inherent in these beliefs can best be understood and operationalized through tracing the way in which women's movements interacted with the government and society, and the differences in the claims made about women's participation in public life. As an institution of the government, the military rarely makes policies about women's service in a vacuum, but rather as a result of or response to broader equality law or shifts in attitudes about women's roles in public life.

While policies about women's service set the stage for women's integration, integration is a result of the interaction between claims about women's military participation and broader military culture and history. When the claims made about women's service are compatible with the role and culture of the military, there is a high level of integration. When the claims about women's service and military culture are in conflict, there is a low level of integration. In France, the claims about women's participation and military culture have largely been in concert with one another, resulting in a high level of integration. In Norway, there have been periods in which they coincided, and periods in which they have been in tension, resulting in a moderate level of integration. In the United States, they have largely been in conflict with one another, resulting in a low level of integration.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Kyleanne Hunter

File size

310 p.

File format





International relations