The Norm against Female Combat

This paper considers a puzzle: why was there such considerable variation in ways in which the USSR, Great Britain, and Germany mobilized women during World War II? I argue that a very strong norm against the use of women in combat is essential in explaining this variation. In turn, understanding the norm against female combat, in particular its longevity and resistance to change, reveals important policy lessons for integrating women into the armed forces today, as well as significant theoretical lessons for how we understand the processes of norm change and norm decline.

Sarah Percy:

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