The Last WACs : A Case Study Of Women In Leadership Focusing On Women In The Last Direct Commissioning Class Of The Women's Army Corps
This study gave voice to an untold story, the story of how the glass ceiling affected a unique population – women Army officers. The women Army officers in this study joined the service during the post Vietnam era, just as women were being integrated into the Army as full and equal partners with their male counterparts. None of the women from the last direct commissioning class of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) attained the rank of general officer. Through case study and the women’s own words, this study focused on whether the most successful of these women encountered a barrier or series of barriers that kept them from being promoted to general officer or if they chose to opt out. The successful women Army officers in this study were confident, competent leaders; they had a highly developed personal code of conduct; they were pioneers and role models for the women Army officers who followed them; they sought stability; and they viewed their service as a vocation which continues today. All five participants encountered a series of barriers on their leadership journey as women Army officers. Two of the women made conscious decisions to opt out in order to provide family stability. Additionally, the women benefited from their experience of being women Army officers educationally, financially, and by gaining skills and knowledge which helped them in their post-retirement careers. Their roles as pioneers and tokens added layers of complexity to their leadership journey. Their service, however, came at a personal cost. And while they did not have equal opportunity, the Army afforded them increased opportunity and equal pay.
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