Date of Award

Spring 6-9-2023

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

B.A. in International Studies

Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies, International Studies

First Advisor

Hilary Matfess


Iraq War, Gendered security sector reform, Military masculinities, UNSCR 1325


The 2003 Iraq War marked the first time in wartime that the United States and United Kingdom deployed female-specific units in support of combat operations. As manifestations of changing gendered norms within defense institutions, these Team Lioness units became symbolic of military transitions to a more diverse fighting force. Following the Iraq War, the US and UK were authorized as governing entities over the post-conflict Security Sector Reform process. Despite growing internal awareness on the importance of gender-inclusive policies, US-UK Coalition Forces instead focused reconstruction efforts on addressing immediate security needs of Iraq. While prior feminist literature has criticized the lack of formalized gender-inclusive policies in the US and UK defense apparatuses, these debates largely ignore the broader consideration of how donor state gender norms impact post-conflict reconstruction. In other terms, there remains the question of how United States and United Kingdom defense institutions perform gender and to what extent such normative cultures impacted Security Sector Reform efforts in post-conflict Iraq. Thus, this research investigates the militarized masculinities of US and UK fighting forces embodied within defense behaviors and policies, arguing the normative ‘laddish’ cultures inherent to military structures force women to become honorary men. As a result, these domestic norms help explain why American and British approaches to post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq were devoid of gendered considerations.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

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

Rights Holder

Caitlyn C. Aldersea


Received from author

File Format



English (eng)


76 pgs

File Size

418 KB

Available for download on Monday, January 01, 2024