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Women in the military more likely to divorce

In their careers, male and female members of the military have largely similar responsibilities and face similar challenges. Their personal lives, however, tend to be very different. According to Pentagon statistics, women who serve in the military experience divorce at much higher rates than do their male comrades.

Pentagon statistics show that the divorce rate among military men is less than half that of military women. Last year, approximately 7.8 percent of women in the military and almost 9 percent of enlisted women got divorces, compared to only 3 percent of military or enlisted men. Military women also divorce at higher rates than civilian women.

Although military officials are not sure of the reason for this disparity, there are several theories. One is that military women are much more likely to marry fellow service members. Approximately half of all married women in the military are married to military men, while only about 10 percent of military men have wives in the service. While spouses who are both in the military may find it helpful to be married to someone who understands the hardships and challenges of military life, the deployments and daily pressure of both being in the service may simply prove too much for some marriages.

It is also believed that standard gender roles play into the increased divorce rate. Women returning from active duty may have difficulty transitioning back into the role of wife and mother. In addition, experts say that there are not enough resources for husbands, leaving them incapable to understand and support their wives through the unique challenges they face as they return from war and readjust to civilian life.

Source: Associated Press, "Female GIs struggle with higher rate of divorce", 3/7/11

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