Girl Soldiers: Towards a Gendered Understanding of Wartimes Recruitment, Participation, and Demobilisation

Citation:

Denov, Myriam, and Alexandra Ricard-Guay. 2013. “Girl Soldiers: Towards a Gendered Understanding of Wartimes Recruitment, Participation, and Demobilisation.” Gender & Development 21 (3): 473–88. doi:10.1080/13552074.2013.846605.

Authors: Myriam Denov, Alexandra Ricard-Guay

Abstract:

Scholarship on political violence and armed conflict has long been gender-blind. Often subsumed within the category of ‘children’ (who are assumed to be male in the context of soldiery), girl soldiers have been subjected to a double invisibility. However, in the last decade the literature dedicated to the topic of girls within armed groups has grown. We now have a much clearer understanding of girls’ strengths and challenges, and clear evidence of their overall marginalisation both during wartime violence and following demobilisation. What is now needed is to implement what we have learnt, to support girls in the aftermath of violence, particularly in the long term. This article seeks to provide an overview of what is known about girl soldiers. It explores their entry into armed groups, and their multiple roles and wartime experiences, as well as their experiences of demobilisation and reintegration. To support the points raised, we highlight the voices and experiences of nine former girl soldiers from Colombia, and eight former girl soldiers from Sierra Leone, who were interviewed in 2010 and 2011. The realities of girls affected by armed conflict vary in different contexts, yet there are similarities. Girls’ options, roles, power relations, both during conflict and following demobilisation, are embedded within broader gendered power structures and identities.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, Gendered Power Relations, Post-Conflict

Year: 2013

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.