Women and the Military
Global Lives in Focus
by Ruth Margolies Beitler and Sarah M. Gerstein
April 2021, 286pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6022-5
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6023-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Though women have earned the right to serve in combat arms positions in many nations, they often find themselves unable to join the military, or subjected to harsh tests just to sign up.

This addition to the Women and Society around the World series explores the roles, challenges, and accomplishments of women in the military in countries across the globe.

Around the world, millions of men serve in their countries’ militaries, be it on land, on the seas, or in the air. But while many militaries have opened all positions to women, even those on the front lines, others remain closed. Countries have cited a number of reasons for their policies, including changing views of women and the military, conscription, and economic and demographic trends.

Written by a professor of comparative politics at the United States Military Academy at West Point and an active duty army major, this book seeks to provide an understanding of women’s roles in militaries around the world. The book is organized by region, exploring societal and cultural views of masculinity and war, as well as factors influencing changing views of women and the military, including conscription and economic and demographic trends. Topics also include sexual harassment, recruitment, and views on women’s physicality and strength. High school students, undergraduates, and general readers will find this cross-cultural study a fascinating and important resource.


  • Provides readers with an overview of women's roles in militaries across the globe
  • Explores the integration of women into the combat arms in several countries
  • Provides historical background on the topic of women and the military in order to help readers better understand circumstances today
  • Offers interesting and insightful information in sidebars placed throughout the text to make the reader's experience more enriching
  • Provides readers with at-a-glance information of the history of women and the military around the world in a chronology
  • Illustrates and supports the text in photographs
Ruth Margolies Beitler, PhD, is professor of comparative politics at the United States Military Academy, West Point. She is author of three books, including as coauthor of Women's Roles in the Middle East and North Africa (Greenwood Press, 2010).

Sarah M. Gerstein is an assistant professor of international relations at the United States Military Academy, West Point and is an active duty major in the United States Army.


"A useful initial source for students of sociology, women’s studies, and the military."—Library Journal, June 1, 2021

Women and Society around the World

Women make up half of the population of the world, yet their roles in society and the issues they face differ far greatly from those of their male counterparts. In some corners of the world, women are deemed unworthy of an education; in other areas, women scientists are pioneers in their fields. This series investigates key topics that are important to women’s lives around the world, from education and politics to violence and employment.

Each volume in the series encompasses a global view of contemporary women, with chapters designed to focus on each world region. Regions discussed include North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania. While chapters discuss each region in general, specific examples of key traditions and customs help to shed light on cultural nuances among countries within each region. High school and general readers will be able to make cross-cultural comparisons, learning how views of women differ from culture to culture, how and why women face issues that men do not, and steps that are being taken to combat these challenges. A chronology, bibliography, and sidebars highlighting key women round out these introductory chapter books.


  • Preface [+/-1,000 words]
  • Introduction [+/-3,000 words]
  • Chronology [+/-2,000 words]
  • Chapter 1: North America [+/- 10,000]
  • Chapter 2: Latin America and the Caribbean [+/- 10,000]
  • Chapter 3: Europe [+/- 10,000]
  • Chapter 4: North Africa and the Middle East [+/- 10,000]
  • Chapter 5: Sub-Saharan Africa [+/- 10,000]
  • Chapter 6: Central and East Asia [+/- 10,000]
  • Chapter 7: South and Southeast Asia [+/- 10,000]
  • Chapter 8: Oceania [+/- 10,000]
  • Bibliography [+/-2,000 words]
  • 20 Sidebars [+/-2,000 words]
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