Megan MacKenzie is a lecturer of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, Australia. She is a former post-doctoral fellow with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University. Working through feminist security studies, development studies, and international relations, her research interests include the combat exclusion for women, gender and the military, the aftermaths of war- including disarmament processes and the impacts of sexual violence, and transitional justice.
Her book Female Soldiers in Sierra Leone: Sex, Security and Post-Conflict Development came out in August 2012 with New York University Press. Other publications include “Securitization and Desecuritization: Female Soldiers and “The Reconstruction of Women in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone,” in Security Studies and “Securitizing Sex? Towards a Theory of the Utility of Wartime Sexual Violence,” in the International Feminist Journal of Politics.

4 thoughts on “

  1. I just finished reading “Let Women Fight,” and had a couple of questions. First of all, who are you, without any combat experience yourself, to push for a policy that you yourself have no expertise in besides case studies you’ve read from behind your desk. And second of all, do you look at your own website? I scrolled down and saw one of the most recent posts, “War rape is not on the decline.” How can you write an article about how strong, independent, and capable women are, yet on your website you have a post discussing women being taken advantage of. If women were just as strong and capable as men then why is this a problem? Shouldn’t they be helping themselves? I actually have many more problems with this idea of yours, that women should serve in combat roles. Unfortunately it would range a lot of writing to express all of this frustration.

  2. Hi Timothy,
    I’m glad you ready my article, Let Women Fight. It would be great to know more about your background as well I suppose. In response to your questions: first, no, I have not been in combat (as you likely already know); however, this does not stop me from being able to read and understand research reports on women in combat (many of which are published by the US military). My arguments about women in combat are not based on some fantasy I have about what it might be like for women to be in combat; rather, they are based on 1. research; 2. evidence that women ALREADY ARE IN COMBAT. I suppose the fact that the majority of American troops felt women should be allowed in combat and that Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta agreed with the arguments and changed the combat restriction on January 23rd should say something.
    I’m not sure what to say about your sexual violence argument. Being capable of serving in combat does not mean one is immune from sexual assault or violence. In fact, some estimates indicate that up to 20% of sexual violence and harassment victims within the military are men. The way to protect men and women from sexual violence is to stop perpetrators.

  3. How many reports have you seen from American women in actual combat, not a zone that rates combat pay, but combat, the types of combat seen in Vietnam, or Fallujah, or Sangin. How many reports have information on women killing enemy combatants directly. Being in real combat and being in a combat zone are two totally separate places. The everyday person may be ready for women in combat, but in a male dominated society such as the infantry, many of them are not ready or will ever be.

  4. I read your article “Let Women Fight.” It was incredibly insightful and well written. I want you to know that you and your writing is an inspiration to me! I plan to read your book soon!

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