A Luta Kontinua (The Struggle Continues): The Marginalization of East Timorese Women Within the Veterans’ Valorization Scheme

Citation:

Kent, Lia, and Naomi Kinsella. 2015. “A Luta Kontinua (The Struggle Continues): The Marginalization of East Timorese Women Within the Veterans’ Valorization Scheme.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17 (3): 473–94. doi:10.1080/14616742.2014.913383.

Authors: Lia Kent, Naomi Kinsella

Abstract:

This article examines how East Timorese women's contributions to the resistance against the twenty-four-year Indonesian occupation (“the Resistance”) have been marginalized within the veteran's valorization scheme (veterans' scheme) established in the post-conflict period. Drawing on interviews with politicians, veterans and members of women's organizations, we show that although women played significant roles within the Armed, Clandestine and Diplomatic fronts, for the most part they have not been recognized as veterans within the veterans' scheme. Instead, the scheme has reinforced perceptions of women's roles as wives, mothers, homemakers and widows, rather than as political actors, suggesting that the return to “peace” in Timor-Leste has been accompanied by the strengthening of patriarchal traditions and the expectation that women return to “traditional” roles. We argue that the failure to recognize women as veterans is problematic both for East Timorese women and society as a whole. It represents a lost opportunity to recognize women's agency and potentially to improve their social status in society. It also narrows the way in which the independence struggle is remembered and represented and further promotes a culture of “militarized masculinity” that elevates and rewards men who show the capacity to use violence.

Keywords: Timor-Leste, resistance, post-conflict, veterans, women's recognition, militarized masculinity

Topics: Civil Society, Combatants, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Asia, Oceania Countries: Timor-Leste

Year: 2015

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