Conforming ones conduct to unwritten rules: Experiences of female military personnel in a male-dominated organization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Swedish Armed Forces have traditionally been exclusively male, and service in the cause of defending the country has until recently been the privilege of men. While the very first women entered the military 37 years ago, the military has so far failed to fully integrate women into the organization and promote gender equality. The object of this study is to probe servicewomen's meanings, identities, strategies and experiences in a male-dominated institution. For that purpose, a qualitative approach was chosen, and nine female members of the Swedish Armed Forces, from private to general, were interviewed. The rich empirical data on what it means and feels like today to serve as a female minority as part of unique culture emphasizing corporateness - on their attitudes, options, dilemmas, contradictions as well as the double binds imposed on them by the prevailing male orthodoxy - are analyzed and discussed in light of Pierre Bourdieu's theoretical concepts : cultural capital, habitus, masculine domination and symbolic violence.


External organisations
  • National Defence College, Sweden
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • Swedish Armed Forces, gender relations, servicewomen's experiences, male domination, career paths, leadership, meanings, identities, strategies, double binds
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalRes Militaris
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes