(In)visible Systemic Injustice: A Qualitative Inquiry into Women’s Experiences of Gender Discrimination in the Canadian Military

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Authors
McCristall, Philip
Keyword
Gender, Masculinity, Femininity, Inappropriate Behaviour, Sexual Misconduct, Military
Abstract
Government bodies housed in Canada are not void of their own systemic issues. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is not any different possessing a traditionally gendered patriarchal white dominant culture that is resistant to the integration and inclusivity of women (Davis 2013; 2009; 2006; Deschamps 2015; Vining 2012; Gouliquer 2011). Kovitz (2018) suggests that the Canadian military is “sexualized and misogynistic” (1) and also referred to it as a “conflict zone for women” (Kovitz 2000:2). Recently, the Canadian military has been faced with several class action law suits surrounding issues regarding experiences with gender and sexual misconduct. This qualitative, exploratory research study inductively investigates military culture highlighting the view that women in the Canadian military space continue to experience systemic issues relating to the gender power differential and systemic discrimination, lack of integration, and sexually inappropriate behaviour from members within the Canadian military. A total of 55 interviews were conducted with women who once served in the Canadian military to gain insight on these highly sensitive, yet timely systemic issues surrounding gender. These women give voice to the systemic (in)visible injustices t they faced while serving in the CAF. A Theoretical explanation, such as Social Constructionism, is superimposed on the data to help navigate a better understanding of the gendered spaces within the military and explore how issues of equality, equity and social justice are understood. Finally, recommendations and insight into policy are discussed.
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