Careers for Women in the Military: Can it Work for a Mom?

A lot of women looking for a career don’t necessarily think about the military for a career, especially as a mom. But if you are looking to get into the military as a woman, then there are plenty of careers to choose from. You can choose things that will complement your existing skills and experience, or choose something completely new. There are some specific challenges that come from a career in the military, and some that are quite unique to female workers in general, but female members of the armed forces do face additional challenges, but don’t let that put you off.

If you are looking for a career in the military or want to know a little more about it, then to start with, having a little more understanding is such a good idea. If you find yourself thinking how many WW2 veterans are still alive? Or are wondering what the benefits are of being in the military to become a veteran, then it could be something that you will want to learn more about. So this post is for you. There are two categories to think about, from enlisted personnel or officers. Women can serve in both of these capacities, and they both have a variety of roles within them to choose from, from being on the front line as enlisted personnel, to working on things like healthcare, human resources, or support services. So there is likely to be something that you could use your current experience for. You may already have work experience to apply with, but as long as you have a high school diploma, then that is the minimum required. Though if you are looking to get into the healthcare side of things, support services, admin, or engineering, then there will be specific training and education that will be required (like bachelors and masters degrees).

What Factors Motivate Women to Join?

Women don’t seem to be naturally drawn to the services as much as men, just because of the statistics of women in the career compared to men. That being said, some of the reasons why women want to join is quite interesting. In fact, it was found back in 2016 that 73% of women that were recruited cited travel as a reason to sign up, compared to just over half of men citing that as their reason to travel. Many women might want to join the military for being able to save in the future and pay for education (52% of women cited for that), whereas less men used that as a reason. So it seems like women are much more thought about their reasons for joining compared to men. Educational reasons and making a difference in their community are all reasons why women join the military too; what do you think your reason for doing it would be?

Challenges to Women in the Military

Women have been serving in the military in various roles for such a long time, though there weren’t some career options open to women, such as working in combat roles, until 2016. So as a result, women in the military still face some challenges that can contribute to fewer joining in the first place, and not many staying for long enough to become officers. That being said, there is no gender pay gap in the military; the payment across the board is like for like. But there are less women working in those roles and working their way up.  

Females in the military still face some gender discrimination, and sadly, there are still quite a few of them reporting that they are victims of sexual harassment or assault. Because of the reduced number of women in the forces, then there are some other things that can make it a little trickier. Even something as simple as the body armor used being designed with male bodies in mind, can prove to be an issue for women. This is something that is being improved, though, so it shouldn’t be a reason to put you off.

A career in the military can mean that your role may need to change after having a family, if that is what you choose. But because of the reduced age for active personnel, you could still carry on a career in the military with children; it doesn’t mean that your military career needs to end if you have a family, as there are many benefits to becoming an officer. Plus, in recent years, many strides have been taken to improve things like maternity and paternity leave, though there is always room for improvement. Each branch of the military will handle pregnancy of active duty members differently. But as has been said, it doesn’t mean that your career in the military needs to come to an end.