Gender Differences in Military Families: Towards a Redefinition of Roles?

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 17:00
Oral Presentation
Eraldo OLIVETTA, School of Management and Economics. Turin University. Italy, Italy
Title: Gender differences in military families: towards a redefinition of roles?

Key words: military families, family relationships, gender differences

There are numerous studies on the changes of gender roles within families. Have these happened in military families, in which one or both partners are in the military? If so, to what extent and how similar is it to what is happening in civilian families? Furthermore, how are gender roles defined in military families? Has the man-military role undergone the same transformations as the corresponding father/husband role in families in general or do major distinctions based on gender continue to exist? Lastly, what and how have roles and gender identity changed in young military families compared to those of past decades?

A qualitative research, with in-depth interviews, will try to answer these questions by studying a reference population consisting of two groups of families: those in which the military partner is now elderly, on leave or close to leave; and those of younger military families, married or with partners, with or without children.

The research, which aims to integrate the framework of international studies on the subject, has revealed clear differences in the distribution of gender roles in the more mature families compared to those composed of younger partners, the disappearance of the traditional male role, assimilation by the latter of actions traditionally assigned to the other role (take caring of children and helping with housework, etc.). This shows that, even in this traditional institution, role transformation processes are taking place which more or less mirror the changes that have happened and are underway in civilian families and their society.