Women and men in the new Navy: Life since Tailhook

Robert Hynson Gooch, Salve Regina University


This study shows the extent to which issues and problems concerning gender integration in the U.S. Navy evolved during the last decade of the 20th century. Specifically, it covers the period from 1991 to 2000, when the Navy attempted to integrate women more completely into the Navy's operating forces more than at any other time in its history. Policies promulgated by the Department of the Navy (1991–2001) attempted to mandate equality and foster successful collaboration between men and women, while retaining the goal of good order and discipline in a previously all-male environment. Nevertheless, sexual harassment, fraternization, adultery, and hazing were problems that the United States Navy faced. Navy men and Navy women are similar in their desire for satisfying work, reasonable compensation, excitement or adventure, and a chance at a fulfilling personal life. But fundamental differences between the genders are found in perceptions, behavior, and expectations about policies among persons in the Navy. The U.S. Navy has generally succeeded in achieving equality of opportunity for women. Naval workplaces are by and large free today of gender issues such as sexual harassment, fraternization, and romance that harm good order, discipline, and the mission of the Navy's ships and stations. This success may serve as a guide to civilian organizations struggling with similar problems. The primary method for uncovering and examining the issues studied here was an extensive literature review. To determine “how men and women were doing in the decade following Tailhook,” surveys were distributed to U.S. Naval personnel of all ranks, rates, genders, and ages. The principal findings of this dissertation are (1) Gender Integration is successful; (2) Navy men and women are Navy professionals first, and representatives of their gender, second; (3) problems of sexual attraction, and losses due to pregnancy and marriage still exist; (4) Policies governing the genders are sound but inconsistently applied.

Subject Area

Womens studies|Public administration|Labor relations

Recommended Citation

Gooch, Robert Hynson, "Women and men in the new Navy: Life since Tailhook" (2001). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI3005672.