Gender and Army ROTC at ASU: Women are hyper-visible and under-recognized within masculine military culture
This study asks the question: does gender-based discrimination exists within Arizona State University's Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), and if so, what are the effects of such discrimination? Within this study, discrimination is defined as: the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs, rather than on individual merit. The researcher predicted that this study would show that gender-based discrimination operates within the masculine military culture of Army ROTC at ASU, resulting from women's hyper-visibility and evidenced by their lack of positive recognition and disbelief in having a voice in the program. These expectations were based on background research claiming that the token status of women in military roles causes them to be more heavily scrutinized, and they consequentially try to attain success by adapting to the masculine military culture by which they are constantly measured. For the purposes of this study, success is defined as: the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence . This study relies on exploratory interviews and an online survey conducted with male and female Army ROTC cadets of all grade levels at Arizona State University. The interviews and survey collected demographic information and perspectives on individual experiences to establish an understanding of privilege and marginalization within the program. These results do support the prediction that women in Army ROTC at ASU face discrimination based on their unique visibility and lack of positive recognition and voice in the program. Likewise, the survey results indicate that race also has a significant impact on one's experience in Army ROTC, which is discussed later in this study in regard to needs for future research. ASU Army ROTC includes approximately 100 cadets, and approximately 30-40 of those cadets participated in this study. Additionally, the University of Arizona and the Northern Arizona University Army ROTC programs were invited to participate in this study and declined to do so, which would have offered a greater sample population. Nonetheless, the results of this research will be useful for analysis and further discussion of gender-equality in Army ROTC at Arizona State University.