||Gender. Figure 2.3 illustrates the trend in
the proportion of female recruits since the start of the All Volunteer Force. Appendix Table D-9
shows the number and proportion of NPS female accessions by Service in FY 1964 and FYs 1970 through 1998. The Air Force traditionally has the largest proportion of women recruits and the Marine Corps the smallest, in part a result of the number of positions open to women in these Services.
The proportion of NPS women accessing into the Services, 18 percent in FY 1998, is not comparable to female representation
in the civilian population (50 percent). One reason for the difference is the lower inclination of women than men to apply for and enter the military.(24) With policy changes concerning women in combat,(25)
more women may enter the Services and retention may increase among female members. The gender-integration policy is just beginning to have an effect on the numbers of women; FY 1995 was the first year under the new rules.
Figure 2.3. Women as a percentage of Active Component NPS accessions, FYs 1973
–1998.Under a gender-neutral recruiting program since FY 1990, the Air Force leads the
Services in the proportion of female accessions. The Air Force has increased its proportion of female recruits, from 20 percent in FY 1990 to 26 percent in FY 1998,
a slight decrease from 28 percent in FY 1997 (see Table D-9). When the Navy
adopted a gender-neutral recruiting policy in FY 1994, the proportion of women accessions in the Navy increased 3 percentage points (from 17 percent in FY 1994 to
20 percent in FY 1995). However, the Navy dropped its gender-neutral recruiting policy because of the constrained berthing facilities on Navy vessels. The Navy's
decision to rescind gender-neutral recruiting may be a factor in the 6-percentage-point drop of female accessions from FY 1995 to FY 1997 (from 20 to 14 percent).(27) However, the Navy was able to recruit a significantly larger proportion of women in
FY 1998 (19 percent).
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- The annual DoD-sponsored Youth Attitude Tracking Study indicates that young women,
depending upon age, are approximately one-half less inclined to join the military than young men. (go back)
- Memorandum from Les Aspin, Secretary of Defense, Subject: Policy on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, April 28, 1993; Memorandum from Les Aspin, Secretary
of Defense, Subject: Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule, January 13, 1994. (go back)
- Memorandum from William Perry, Secretary of Defense, Subject: Application of the Definition of Direct Ground Combat and Assignment Rule, July 28, 1994.
- Born, D.H., Women in the Military-Trends 1990 to 1996 (Washington, DC: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense [Force Management Policy/Accession Policy]). (go back)