Skip to main content Skip to search input


Australian Army military police soldiers and various Fire and Rescue NSW personnel work to free a trapped ‘casualty’ during the Defence Force School of Policing training activity at Holsworthy Barracks, Sydney, 2016.
An introduction to gender studies, unshackling human talent and optimising military capability for the coming Era of Equality: 2020 to 2050
10 July 2017


Gender has been a high-profile issue within the Army over the last five years. In response to Pathways to Change (PtC), Army has introduced significant changes in a short period. However, there is now a chance for Army to catch its breath and reflect more deeply and strategically about
how it approaches gender issues in the longer term. Although there may understandably be a feeling of ‘issue-fatigue,’ there are five reasons the gender issue requires further attention now:

  1. Army capability depends upon strong and cohesive teams.
  2. Achieving genuinely equitable workplaces and a gender-aware lens on the operating environment requires greater engagement with gender theory.
  3. Masculinity studies have not been incorporated into Army’s approach to gender.
  4. Gender is not a static issue; over 2020 to 2050, it will continue to influence Army’s internal and external environment – in ways which are perhaps more significant than have been seen to date.
  5. Trends indicate a rise in female participation in violent extremism.


The purpose of Teaming is to provide Army with a deeper understanding or ‘rich picture’ of gender and how this may influence the world of 2020 to 2050.


Approximately 20 serving members of the Army were consulted in drafting this document, and some of their quotes are presented throughout the document in green text. This is not intended to represent formal research, but rather to provide an initial glimpse into the range of views that exist,
to inform the discussion and to help convey meaning.

About the author: MAJ Boulton is a research officer at Army Headquarters, undertaking a PhD part-time at the Australian National University. She has previously worked in the Army as a transport and logistics officer, while her civilian work has been in climate risk and communication. She deployed to East Timor in 1999, Iraq 2004 and has worked in Africa (Ghana, Nigeria and Sudan) and the Pacific Islands.

Last updated
21 February 2019
Army: Courage. Initiative. Respect. Teamwork.
Back to top