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Activity title

Integration of Women into Ground Combat Units

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System Analysis and Studies

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Combat Effectiveness, Gender Integration, Psychological, Social and Cultural Influences, Women in combat


Gender integration and its influence on combat effectiveness cannot be understood without carefully considering the psychological, social and cultural impacts on the performance of women and mixed gender combat teams Women have been integrated into ground close combat units in many NATO and partner countries. There is increasing interest among other NATO/PfP countries in expanding the roles open to women, in particular ground close combat roles. In support of such initiatives, it is important to identify best practices, collect empirical evidence and collate lessons learned to support the expansion of combat roles for women and to better understand the impacts of gender integration.


The objectives of this activity are to identify: • The influence of social, cultural, and psychological factors of gender integration in ground close combat units and their impact on combat effectiveness. • Effective processes and strategies for the integration of women in ground close combat units. • Appropriate methodologies for monitoring, measurement and assessment of integration. • Best practices through collaboration. Other areas of interest in this activity are differences/similarities in enlisted and officer positions; the impact of voluntary versus involuntary assignments; active duty versus reservist; and historical perspectives of successful implementation.


Aspects which need to be examined include: Cultural, behavioural and attitude change, Leadership, Measurement of operational and combat effectiveness, Group dynamics, conformity & cohesion, Practical integration (accommodation, support and welfare networks), Critical mass, Harassment & bullying, Career paths, Early cohort management, Motivation, recruitment and retention, Long term monitoring of integration (processes, impacts, cultural change), Mental resilience.

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