Identifying problems that female soldiers experience with current-issue body armour
Despite female soldiers representing a growing user population, military body armour systems are currently better suited to the anthropometric dimensions of male soldiers. The aim of this study was to explore issues that female soldiers experience with current Australian Defence Force (ADF)-issue body armour. Following a sequential exploratory design, an initial questionnaire was completed by 97 Australian female soldiers. Subsequently, 33 Australian female soldiers participated in one of three focus groups. Descriptive statistics of questionnaire data considered alongside thematic analysis of focus group transcripts revealed problems with the design (fit, form and function) of current ADF-issue body armour, as well as problems with the issuance and education surrounding use of the system. It is recommended that anthropometric data of female soldiers be better incorporated into future body armour designs, that these data inform processes surrounding both acquisition and issuance of body armour and that training protocols for body armour use be reviewed.
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U.S. Department of Defense