Understanding Resistance and Communicating Change: Women in MFE Branches

  • Lieutenant Colonel Shawn R. Edwards

The integration of women in Maneuver Fires and Effects branches in the Army represents a promising change for the Army and the nation. Not only will this long overdue change allow the Army to align with social norms pertaining to equality and inclusion, it will also enhance Army readiness and increase creativity and innovation in combat arms units. However, continued resistance to this change effort does not bode well for the Army moving forward. As such, senior Army leaders must understand factors that underscore resistance and communicate the importance of this change effort through strong messages and behavior patterns to influence institutional beliefs. This research project provides a historical review of women in the Army with emphasis on patterns of institutional resistance towards women, analyzes the benefits of integrating women into combat arms units, and provides recommendations for senior Army leaders to consider as they seek to effectively integrate women in combat arms units.