The Obstacles Women Face in Gaining Access to Special Operations Forces

  • João ReisEmail author
  • Rafael Gonçalves
  • Sofia Menezes
  • Manuela Kaczynska
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 152)


The aim of this article is to provide exploratory insights regarding women integration in the special operations forces. The methodological approach is qualitative and employs a case study research in the Portuguese Army. It includes multiple sources of data collection for corroboration purposes, namely semi-structured interviews, direct observation and official documents. Although it has been considered a hot-topic in the Portuguese armed forces, and as the Portuguese Republic establishes the legal means to integrate women in all professional areas, reality shows that up to the present days no women have been part of the special operations forces. In light with the above, we evidence some obstacles that women are facing in gaining access to the Portuguese special operations forces, and we present Portugal in comparative perspective with two successful case studies.


Women Special operations forces Portuguese Army Military Gender Integration Case study 



This project was started under the sponsorship of Erasmus+ programme, which allowed students from different European countries to cooperate. We would like to thank the Portuguese and Polish Army, for their outstanding contribution. Lastly, but not least, we would also like to thank the participation of the anonymous respondents, which greatly contributed to the production of the final results.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • João Reis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rafael Gonçalves
    • 2
  • Sofia Menezes
    • 3
  • Manuela Kaczynska
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Military ScienceMilitary Academy, GOVCOPPLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Military ScienceMilitary AcademyLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Management and LeadershipCINAMILLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Tadeusz Kościuszko Land Forces Military University, Polish Land Forces Military UniversityWrocławPoland

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