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I have been looking around online trying to find the answer to a question which came to me last night (Sad I know).

Why are there no female Space Marines?

Have come across some theories which range from the models not being up to scratch, to lore that space marines are almost not human, but none of these give a definitive answer.

There are female Imperial guards men and there are sisters of battle (one of the reasons the sculptures not being up to scratch is a terrible argument)

Anyone have any ideas?

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The space wolfs books which detail the rise of Ragnar shwo the recruitment process –  Marriott81 Mar 20 at 12:38
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Possible: the gene seed used to alter them is derived from the all-male primarchs and is thus incompatible with female genes? –  Pureferret Mar 20 at 14:11
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Maybe there are women recruited, but after being altered to become a Space Marine they look just like men. Similar to the Borg. –  Xantec Mar 20 at 16:00
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@Marriott81: to clarify: Royal Marines = the UK marine corps, and Games Workshop, the company that makes WH40K is a UK company. –  Michael Borgwardt Mar 21 at 11:34
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@Xantec, the Borg, or Dwarves. B) –  eidylon Jun 16 at 19:47

3 Answers 3

The in-universe answers I have seen are twofold:

Firstly the Primarchs were all male; space marines are created using their gene seed and it reacts poorly to being implanted into a female.

Secondly (and possibly most importantly) the Imperium of Man is a place where tradition and ritual are treated as important above all other things. Space marines were male when the Emperor created them, so they will ALWAYS be male. To even think otherwise is heresy.

From an out-of-universe perspective; Games Workshop first created the Space Marines in the 80s to appeal to 13 year old boys. Back then the idea of girl space army men was probably not in vogue.

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it reacts poorly to being implanted into a female : This sounds like you've seen examples. Is there a source for the positive assertion? +1 for the tradition though. –  Xantec Mar 20 at 16:19
    
@Xantec Somewhere, I think maybe an old issue of White Dwarf. –  evilscary Mar 20 at 16:19
    
I may have just found this: " They must be male because the zygotes are keyed to male hormones and tissue types." whilst looking into it, from here: wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/… –  Marriott81 Mar 21 at 16:18

The Adeptus Astartes are the Space Marines, and are (so far as I know) all male.

But don't despair for the women, they are not left out of the never-ending war. The Adepta Sororitas or Sisters of Battle is the women's division of the forces of the Emperor. The Sisters tend to operate more as an arm of the Inquisition than in "traditional" theatres of operation. Check the wikia link for more in-depth information on this chapter.

I also like the comment @Pureferret has that the geneseeds for the Adeptus Astartes are taken from the Primarchs and thus are inherently male DNA, and thus may be incompatible. I'm no biologist, but this does sound like it makes some sense too.

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I know that the reason is that the SOB order is not allowed Men at Arms which is why they are all female, but I was curious about the Smurfs and the like –  Marriott81 Mar 21 at 16:13

Another way to think about it is that the gene-science used to create the Primarchs and marines was exceptionally difficult. Neither the Emperor nor a similar powerbroker ever succeeds in replicating the same Primarch -> Geneseed relationship again.

Given how precarious the geneseed mutations of male candidates were found to be, it stands to reason that there simply was not enough expertise to then also create a similar process for female marines. Even before the Heresy it's well known among the Primarchs, Malcador and the Emperor that several legions possess unstable geneseeds. It's even hinted that at least one of the two lost legions suffered the fate of expungement due to faulty geneseed. Hence, a process as finicky, and frankly error-prone, as the creation of a space marine probably never gets to the point where the powers that be consider expanding to female subjects.

Also note that the Emperor's Custodians are also all male. It could simply be that the gene enhancement techniques developed during Terran unification focused only on male physiology too. There was not a need for more warriors so much as an efficient and trusted cadre of super-human ones, the Adeptus Custodes. If so, again the need for investing research and development into female enrollment is not needed when a small number of elite male warriors would suffice.

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