Women in the Military: Rewards and Challenges
Kathryn Basham, M.S.W., Ph. D.


Fourteen percent of our current active duty armed forces are women. Although there is ongoing controversy related to the appropriate roles for servicewomen, it is generally agreed upon that they fully engage in a wide range of duties and responsibilities during deployment, comparable to their male counterparts.  Yet, inequities in pay and recognition have prevailed. Recently, the 1994 ban restricting women’s jobs in the military was repealed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. 

Research and clinical literature address aspects of resilience as well as unique issues facing servicewomen. They include: health and mental health outcomes; caregiving of children and elders; moral integrity/moral injury; military sexual trauma; and negotiating a masculinized culture.  A synthesis of feminist, attachment and trauma theories, bolstered by neurobiology, informs a clinical social work practice approach with these servicewomen and their families. Clinical case material will be used to illustrate the rewards and challenges facing these women in the military.