Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Antoinette Jackson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tara Deubel, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Lende, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lynda Davis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lawrence Schonfeld, Ph.D.


Feminist Ethnography, Gender, Militarism, United States, Women Veterans


As issues of gender inequality in the military are addressed, women will continue to fill jobs traditionally occupied by men, and ultimately take on a greater percentage of leadership responsibility. For these reasons, women will remain the fastest growing population within our active duty forces. An increased need for research, advocacy, and resources for programs and services designed specifically for women veterans is necessary in order to prepare for an upsurge in the numbers of women who will be seeking services in the years to come. This research utilized a feminist ethnographic approach for data collection and analysis. Data was collected using mixed methods consisting of an online survey (n=915), telephone interviews with women veterans and community reintegration specialists (n=31), and participant observation at veteran focused events. This study provides an in depth understanding of US women veterans’ experiences both in the military and after, emphasizing the different gendered experiences of participants. Among the many findings, I conclude that women veterans negotiated and performed gender in a way that worked for them within the professional militarized environments that they were a part of. However, upon leaving the military, many experience challenges associated with having to renegotiate gender, often times in civilian workplace settings where traditional aspects of masculinity and femininity are still upheld as societal norms. This research is meant to contribute to a growing body of literature on veteran transition and help fill the existing gap in anthropology of the military on the intersections of gender, gendered role-making, and military service. It will be of interest to lawmakers, policy experts, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and community stakeholders tasked with identifying the short-term and long-term challenges affecting women veterans as they enter civilian life after service, and how to appropriately tailor programs and services to meet the needs of the population.