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Women in the Military: Special Contributions and Unique Challenges

Thu March 26th: 11:00 am-12:00 pm EDT


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Female service member in uniform performs a rope pull during military training

About This Webinar

Key points of this session –

  1. Demographic summary of women serving in the military
  2. How do women serving in the military – and their careers – differ from other women or from men serving in the military?
  3. Gender differences in relation to the consequences of deployment
  4. Key current challenges facing women service members


Leanne K. Knobloch is a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois and a member of the Science Advisory Board of the Military Child Education Coalition. Her research addresses how people communicate during times of transition within close relationships, with a particular focus on how military families navigate the cycle of deployment and reintegration. Her scholarship has been honored by the Golden Anniversary Monograph Award from the National Communication Association, the Biennial Article Award from the International Association for Relationship Research, and the Charles H. Woolbert Research Award from the National Communication Association. She recently completed a research project funded by the U.S. Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs to investigate how military couples can maintain satisfying relationships upon reunion following deployment.

Shelley M. MacDermid Wadsworth is a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue University, where she directs the Center for Families, as well as the Military Family Research Institute, which she co-founded. Dr. MacDermid Wadsworth’s primary research interest is the relationship between work conditions and family life, with special focus on military families. Dr. MacDermid Wadsworth is a fellow of the National Council on Family Relations, and a recipient of the Work Life Legacy Award from the Families and Work Institute. She has served on federal advisory committees for the National Academies of Science and the Department of Defense, and has testified in Congress on multiple occasions regarding military and veteran families. Dr. MacDermid Wadsworth is a recipient of the Morrill Award, Purdue University’s highest faculty honor outstanding career achievements that have had an impact on society, and in 2019 was named a “Top Ten Extraordinary Contributor” among work-family researchers worldwide.

Kenona Southwell is a senior research/ analyst at Eagle Technologies, Inc. Kenona’s research focuses on the bi-directional relationship between work and family life with a special interest in military services and its implications for family life and health. Her research with women service members focuses on male civilian spouses of women service members and evaluating the effect of a program designed to foster career and self-development among women student service members/veterans. Kenona’s research also includes surveillance of substance use and mental health treatment service availability and utilization in the U.S.

Continuing Education (CE) Credit

An application has been submitted for 1.0 CEU credits  for Social Work, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists from the UT Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work. Check with your state licensing agency for reciprocity and/or credit approval if licensed for other professions or in one of the following states: CO, FL, HI, IA, KS, KY, MI, NY, ND, OH, OK

MFLN has applied for 1.0 Contact Hours from the National Council on Family Relations to Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE).

Certificates of completion are available for providers interested in documenting their professional development.

Event Materials

Webinar slides and resources coming soon.



Cover image via Pixabay by skeeze/CC0

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