Think of war, think of men. Men as fighters, as soldiers. War is thought of in male terms – aggressive, decisive, rational. It shapes our idea of what it means to be a man – a warrior, a defender.

But no longer is war limited to soldiers on a battlefield. Today’s reality is of war fought amongst the people – a battle for ‘hearts and minds’. Militaries are adapting, using female soldiers to work with women. Here, a Helmandi policewoman is trained to load and fire a weapon by a female soldier. Inspirational undoubtedly, but is it anything other than token inclusion of women?

My research explores how the way we think about the involvement of women in war has changed over the last seventy years. By questioning the influence of male military culture on policy development, I hope to reveal alternative ways of thinking about war.