Women, War, and the Military

War has a special impact on women that is usually underestimated. Military service is difficult, demanding and dangerous. But returning to civilian life also poses challenges for the men and women who have served in the armed forces. Women generally make up about 14 percent of the military and are contributing to military operations where large segments of women returning have been exposed to some form of combat and share similar experiences and problems with men. These issues also have an impact at home, where spouses and families have to deal with PTSD and other psychological issues.

Despite their urgency, these problems have received very little attention. CGHR’s project on “Women, War, and the Military” casts a spotlight on both their sacrifice and their service. The domestic component of the program will speak to the problems of war widows, women vets, women vets with military sexual trauma (MST), wives of combat veterans who are suffering from PTSD and other psychological issues, as well as minority and gay women in the military. While examining earlier wars, the project will largely be focused on the effects of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars only because so many people in our communities are experiencing the negative effects of these wars today.  

CGHR’s “Women, War, and the Military” project’s objective is to (a) reach out to the aforementioned groups of women and help educate them about gender issues related to women and war and to help them with the opportunities that exist for them; and (b) to engage in research and scholarship related to the issue of women and war, and (c) to raise awareness about the too-often neglected issue of women and war both in the military and civilian communities

To accomplish these goals, this project, with its unique emphasis on women and the military, will organize activities for high schools, community and religious groups, community colleges as well as for the students of Rutgers University. The project’s academic aims and practical teaching techniques will be achieved through three different components that will enable women in the military to tell their stories in a variety of ways:

1.  Scholarship and Education through documentaries, conferences and a speaker series. 

2. Community Awareness through power point presentations, traveling photo exhibitions, pamphlets and tool kits that answer frequently answered questions 

3. Research and Documentation through oral history projects and collaborative research projects.