An Invisible Barricade: Gender Mainstreaming Practices in Taiwan's Military
Chiao-Shan Yen (Department of Psychology and Social Work, National Defense University), Yea-Huey Sheu (Department of Social Policy and Social Work, National Chi Nan University)
In the past fifteen years, with the promotion of “gender mainstreaming” and the change of the labor force recruitment system, the proportion of women in the military has increased, and it is inevitable that multi-faceted gender issues must be faced. As a special gendered organization, how is the promotion of gender equality actualized in the military? The realization of gender equality in the military calls for more exploration.
Based on a qualitative research approach, this research uses in-depth interviews as a data collecting method. Male and female officers who have served for more than five years in the army, the navy, and the air force, were invited to share their experiences and observations about the following issues. What is the current status of female military personnel manpower utilization and the working environment? How has the promotion system changed? Do sexual harassment prevention measures work? Have they experienced the practice of gender mainstreaming in changing the gender relations within the military, or how effective do they perceive them to be?
The results show that the increasing proportion of female military personnel recruited and the diversity of military position options seem to challenge attitudes and arrangements of traditional military systems, but quite superficially. The masculine hegemony of the military, combined with internal and external complaints and sarcasms from the traditional patriarchal culture, has aggravated the unfairness of unequal power between males and females. Incidents of gender discrimination and sexual harassment also highlight the inequality of gender power. There is an invisible barricade in front of female military personnel. Their subordinate role within the military, as well as their roles as the main caregivers within their families, make women marginal and insignificant in the military. Gender boundaries have not actually disappeared, both personally and structurally. Some strategic suggestions are provided finally to enhance the quality of gender mainstreaming in the military.
gender mainstreaming, masculine hegemony, patriarchal ideology