Careers of Women Soldiers in the Lithuanian Army: The Opinion of Female Non-Commissioned Officers

Deimantas Pleskys, Jūratė Guščinskienė

Abstract


The aim of this research paper is to examine the career prospects of female soldiers in the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The article tackles the concept of career and legal regulation of careers in the military. The empirical part of the paper is based on an original survey of female noncommissioned officers’ opinion, which was conducted at the end of 2019 at the command of the Mechanized Infantry Brigade "Iron Wolf". The opinion of female non-commissioned officers showed that the legal basis of career making for all soldiers in the Lithuanian Armed Forces is the same for both women and men, but some of the participants in the study pointed out that this is not sufficiently relevant to pregnant women and women on maternity leave, as, for example, women on maternity leave are often transferred to the personnel reserve, and their positions are filled by other soldiers, etc. The respondents’ opinion on women’s opportunities to pursue a career in the Lithuanian Armed Forces compared to men was divided, as some of the respondents believed that women and men have equal opportunities in all areas of their professional activities, while others stated that opportunities are equal only in administration, service and similar areas. It was found that some female NCOs find it difficult to pursue a vertical military career on equal terms with men, that few female soldiers are in senior positions in the army, in other words, women often face the phenomenon of the ‘glass ceiling’ when pursuing vertical careers. In contrast, there are better opportunities for women soldiers to pursue horizontal careers in the army. Factors that encourage women’s careers in the military include their personal motivation and financial, material and non-material incentives, while those that hinder them include the stereotypes that still exist in the military, the personalities of commanders, the exclusion of women from decision-making processes, etc.

Keywords


career, army, career of female non-commissioned officers

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"Public Policy and Administration" ISSN online 2029-2872 / ISSN print 1648-2603