I ended up coming to this text from a general feminist perspective, since the dominant voices in the story are obviously male, and women are only seen in scattered instances, both inside and outside the military system.
The good news is that Heinlein doesn't seem to hold the view on women that I expected him to express, which was of the "all women are objects, good for nothing but cooking, cleaning and sex" variety. Well, at least he doesn't hold it to an absolute extreme. Starship Troopers was first published in 1959, just before the sexual (and political) revolution of the 1960s; the ideal feminine image was likely still that of the happy homemaker.
There are some scenes that do support this misogynistic view of women. For example, on page 27, Johnnie and his friend Carl run into another friend of theirs, Carmencita Ibanez, on the way to the military recruiters' office. She announces that she is signing up to become a pilot, and Johnnie remarks to himself: "Fact was, little Carmen was so ornamental that you just never thought about her being useful."
Women are also treated as a form of visual entertainment, as Johnnie describes on pages 125-126: "I stood around and gawked...at girls. I hadn't realized how wonderful they were. Look, I'd approved of girls from the time I'd first noticed that the difference was more than that they dressed differently." Oh, okay; so as soon as the girls became sexually fascinating it was easier to 'approve' of them? Do they need that 'approval' in the first place?
Military women seem to be a partial exception to this view. It is acknowledged in several instances that women make the sharpest and most creative pilots, such as Captain Deladrier, who is clearly in a position of some authority over the men on her ship. She is ultimately responsible for the success of their missions at the beginning and the end. When Johnnie notices that Carmen has shaved her head for the Navy, he expresses a deeper respect for her: "It does serve to set a Navy girl apart from civilian chicks; sort of a lodge pin, like the gold skulls for combat drops. It made Carmen look distinguished, gave her dignity, and for the first time I finally realized that she was an officer and a fighting man---as well as a very pretty girl." Of course, this also implies that the only way that women can obtain some dignity is through military service.
Basically, this is something I wanted to open up to discussion. Are the views of women expressed in this book predictable and in line with the military perspective? Does Heinlein seem to be emphasizing the inferiority of women? or merely subjugating all his characters to the mighty military machine that he praises so much? Etc?