The Department of Defense (DOD) recently sent out a survey on “workplace and gender relations” to active-duty service members that asks about their attitudes towards women, which some service members are criticizing as “inappropriate.”
The roughly 40-page voluntary survey, sent out December 9 and obtained in full by Breitbart News, has a section called “Social Perceptions & Experiences” that lists a series of statements about women that appear aimed at gauging attitudes within the military towards women.
Respondents are asked to indicate the degree with which they agree, ranging from Strongly agree, Somewhat agree, Slightly agree, Slightly Disagree, Somewhat Disagree, Strongly Disagree.
Some statements appear aimed at gauging whether the respondent has more traditional views about women.
The statements include: “Many women have a quality of purity that few men possess,” “Women should be cherished and protected by men,” “Women seek to gain power by getting control over men,” “Every man ought to have a woman whom he adores.”
Another set of statements include: “Men are incomplete without women,” “Women exaggerate problems they have at work,” “Once a woman gets a man to commit to her, she usually tries to put him on a tight leash,” and “When women lose to men in a fair competition, they typically complain about being discriminated against.”
A third set of statements seems to try to gauge resentment towards women, with statements that include: “Many women get a kick out of teasing men by seeming sexually available and then refusing male advances,” “Women, compared to men, tend to have a superior moral sensibility,” “Men should be willing to sacrifice their own well-being in order to provide financially for the women in their lives,” and “Feminists are making unreasonable demands of men.”
Members of the U.S. military are expressing their grave concerns as the Pentagon issues a coronavirus vaccine mandate. https://t.co/Vvc3xQV3j8
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) August 29, 2021
The full survey was first highlighted earlier this week on social media by the popular military Instagram account @Terminal_CWO.
The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act mandated the DOD to conduct the survey every year, with the active duty force taking it in the even years, and the reserve force taking it in the odd years.
The section with the statements on women appears to be a recent addition. The section does not appear in the 2018 survey, which is posted online on the DOD’s Office of People Analytics website. The 2021 survey also allows respondents to identify themselves as “transgender,” while the 2018 survey did not.
Brian L. Cox, a former Army judge advocate, expressed concern in a recent paper for Cornell University about the survey, arguing that it is vulnerable to “non-response bias.” He wrote:
A final potential limitation regarding the WGRA report as a useful measure of the performance of the U.S. military justice system is that the survey methodology and fairly low response rate introduce the possibility for non-response bias. In this context, ‘non-response bias’ can be summarized as a statistical distortion that occurs when certain groups are more inclined to participate in the survey than other groups in the population.
The DOD tweeted about the survey on Thursday morning, inviting troops to respond and adding it was the first time that “ALL” military members can take the survey.
Service members: Do you want to confidentially share your opinion on sexual assault, sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the military? For the first time, ALL military members can do so through the DoD's workplace and gender relations survey. https://t.co/RHan0knHEE
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) December 16, 2021
An accompanying article by the DOD stated the survey was sent out on December 9 to about “1 million randomly selected service members — roughly half of the combined active-duty and Reserve force.” It said that this year is the first year that all service members can take an abbreviated version.
The article said:
The results give the DOD its official estimates on the prevalence of sexual assault, sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the military.
While the survey is voluntary, it’s the department’s only official source of data collection on this matter, which informs DOD officials on how to improve and develop policies and programs that can help service members. So it’s important to give your input if you can.
The article cites Dr. Rachel Breslin, chief of military gender relations research within the DOD’s Office of People Analytics, which puts out the survey: “We suspect a lot of folks have something to say.”
The full survey takes about 30 minutes to complete, while the abbreviated version has 10 questions and takes about five minutes, according to Breslin.
The DOD article says the results of the survey will come out in the summer of 2022 and will be publicly released to DOD policy offices, military service leadership, and Congress.
@Terminal_CWO posted a copy of the statements on women along with a letter from Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James McConville to soldiers, encouraging them to take the voluntary survey.
The letter stated, “People are the Army, and I am committed to the health and well-being of all Soldiers. That is why I am personally contacting you to learn more about your experience in the Army. Please take this opportunity to add your voice to help the work we are doing to improve the lives of every soldier.”
Responses would be confidential, the letter from McConville said.
@Terminal_CWO posted the caption along with the letter: “Is this an attempt to gauge misogyny within the force. If so, is cherishing women misogyny? Is thinking they’re controlling and will put you on a leash misogyny? I have so many questions, but I’m certain the questions contain within are non-sensical and inappropriate.”
Katie Phipps Hague, whose husband is voluntarily separating from the military over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, tweeted about the survey: “It’s a good thing the military has their priorities in place. Racism, sexism, and climate change. We’re all safer now.”
It’s a good thing the military has their priorities in place. Racism, sexism, and climate change. We’re all safer now. https://t.co/uLtj2XDogN
— Katie Phipps Hague (@AtTheHague) December 14, 2021