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Shifts in Racial / Ethnic and Gender Composition in the Military

Social structure, social systems and social networks with applications to military personnel and operational issues

A project led by David and Mady Segal examines the changing racial / ethnic composition of the U.S. military. This research program on diversity shows that the composition of the U.S. military has been shifting, in part as a reflection of changes in the American labor force. In particular, representation of African Americans has been declining slightly while representation of Hispanics, including Hispanic women, has been increasing. The research program has also shown that the participation of women in the military has been increasing internationally, in part as a reflection of increased participation by women in the labor force, and has suggested how political, social, cultural, and military factors have facilitated it. Other projects on diversity have documented how debates on participation of women in the military have been framed and show that there is consistency over time in the use of arguments based on military effectiveness and equality of opportunity. The project has documented the ascent of women to senior military ranks and the strategies that led to their successful careers. In the realm of research methods it has shown how the inclusion or exclusion of military personnel from surveys of the nation’s population can affect estimates of racial inequalities in employment and income.

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