December 23, 2011
A study by the Pew Research Center found that of the 167,000 enlisted women in the military, 31 percent are black, twice their percentage in the civilian female population, while 53% of White women represent the military, making up 78% of the civilian female population.
Beth J. Asch, a senior economist and defense manpower specialist at the Rand Corporation, announced her theory that the military tries to attract high school graduates who are looking for job training, good benefits and help with college tuition — and that a high percentage of those candidates were black women.
There were more than 200,000 female enlisted and commissioned officers in the military in 2010, Women now represent 14 percent of the enlisted ranks and 16 percent of commissioned officers.
The demographics study report by the DoD also showed that women were far more likely than men to serve in the Air Force, but far less likely to join the Marine Corps and that military women, for instance, are less likely than military men to be married, 46 percent to 58 percent. But while nearly half of the married women in the military have spouses who are also in the military, just 7 percent of married military men have wives in the forces.
According to the Pew Research center study, when asked why they enlisted, both men and women say they wanted to serve their country or receive education benefits. However, 42 percent of women say they enlisted because civilian jobs were hard to find, compared to just 25 percent of men who cited employment as a primary motivator.