U.S. Navy photo

It sucks to be a pioneer. At least once in her career, every woman who has served in the military has been the only woman in the room. In addition to the loneliness of being the “token woman,” women who are the “first of their kind” in any occupational specialty or position may simultaneously endure both increased scrutiny and increased isolation. Often, the role of a pioneer is to the ensure that those who follow her only have to do the job they have been assigned to do, and not fight sexism as well. In the process, pioneering servicewomen develop their own strategies to survive.

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