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Northern Europe

Gender, Class, and Patriotism: Women’s Paramilitary Units in First World War Britain


Robert, Krisztina. 1997. “Gender, Class, and Patriotism: Women’s Paramilitary Units in First World War Britain.” The International History Review 19 (1): 52-65.

Author: Krisztina Robert

Topics: Armed Conflict, Class, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Paramilitaries Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 1997

Dirty Protest: Symbolic Overdetermination and Gender in Northern Ireland Ethnic Violence


Aretxaga, Begona. 1995. “Dirty Protest: Symbolic Overdetermination and Gender in Northern Ireland Ethnic Violence.” Ethos 23 (2): 123-48.

Author: Begoña Aretxaga

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Ethnicity, Gender, Violence Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 1995

Trading Aprons for Arms: Republican Feminist Resistance in the North of Ireland


O’Keefe, Theresa. 2003. “Trading Aprons for Arms: Republican Feminist Resistance in the North of Ireland.” Resources for Feminist Research 30 (3): 39-64.

Author: Theresa O’Keefe


This article examines women's feminist resistance under the rubric of nationalism. It challenges the commonly held assumption that participation in nationalist movements is not self-serving for women, that fighting in a national liberation movement is detrimental to women's emancipation. It accounts for the rise of feminist-nationalist organizing in the North of Ireland, & its impact on the most radical element of Irish nationalism–republicanism. It argues that women's participation in the armed struggle empowered republican women to develop & advance a progressive, feminist agenda in conjunction with republicanism. This analysis is primarily based on interviews conducted with former female members of the Irish Republican Army.

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Nationalism Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2003

Military Women in the NATO Armed Forces


García, Sarah.1999. “Military Women in the NATO Armed Forces.” Minerva: Quarterly Report on Women and the Military 17 (2): 33-82.

Author: Sarah García


In June 1998, officers (men and women) assembled in Brussels to discuss means to improve equity and expand the employment of women in the NATO armed forces. About 90 comrades in arms from fourteen allied nations, plus guests from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, now new NATO members, as well as from  Sweden, met to discuss the committee's goals and objectives. This first-time participation by Partner nations unequivocally enhanced the committee's work, especially where it involves mentoring, equality, and recruiting programs. The dialogue and cooperation between Allied and Partner nations at the conference was mutually advantageous to NATO's mission readiness capabilities and efforts to ensure the recognition and empowerment of all military personnel. The Committee prepared an "Issue Book" containing recommendations and rationales for the Military Committee and national authorities to consider when determining integration policy/initiative within their armed forces. That was the first time the committee had developed such a comprehensive product geared specifically to focus NATO in this process. In support of NATO's Enhanced Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, which began five years ago and centered on "fostering military co-operation between NATO and non-NATO states to, among other aims, strengthen the ability to undertake peacekeeping and humanitarian missions and developing military forces better able to operate with those of NATO members," 8 the 1998 Brussels Conference sparked the beginning of the Committee on Women's cooperative dialogue with PfP nations. For example, discussions centered on equality, in terms of training and promotion (rank and career opportunities); utilization and development via recruitment, mentoring, and retention; and improving the quality of life for women in uniform by eliminating gender discrimination and sexual harassment. Since then, Partner nations have expressed  interest in the committee, its goals and objectives, and assistance from the Women In the NATO Forces (WINF) office. In the five decades of its existence, the NATO alliance has "evolved from a traditional military alliance for collective defence into a political-military organisation for security cooperation, with an extensive bureaucracy and complex decision-making processes." The alliance is now redefining its mission as a result of the end of the Cold War. In an even briefer span of time, the position of women in the military has undergone meaningful change in many NATO nations, and "As these changes take place, the disparate gender politics among its member governments take on even more importance." The debate over women's participation in the military is far from over. Despite those debates, new threats to NATO's collective security, the reorganization of armies and international staffs, advanced weapons technology, and new peacekeeping operations challenge traditional military structures and functions and make the utilization of all available human resources, men and women, imperative. Integrating women into any military is an evolutionary process, now underway in all NATO member nations. Personnel policies that insure a military establishment of the highest quality possible with the resources available are an essential part of this process.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Men, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, International Organizations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Peacekeeping Regions: Europe, Central Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Sweden

Year: 1999

‘And They Think I’m Just a Nice Old Lady’: Women and War in Belfast, Northern Ireland


Dowler, Lorraine. 1998. “‘And They Think I’m Just a Nice Old Lady’: Women and War in Belfast, Northern Ireland.” Gender, Place and Culture 5 (2): 159-76.

Author: Lorraine Dowler


This article examines the spatial construction of gender roles in a time of war. During a period of armed conflict both women and men are perceived as beings who exemplify gender-specific virtues. The relationship of gender and identity in this case is a paradoxical one: war-usually a catalyst of change-can often become an agent of conservatism as regards gender identities. This conservatism can be seen in the wartime spatial relegation of women to the private/domestic realm. When a society is in armed conflict there is a predisposition to perceive men as violent and action-oriented and women as compassionate and supportive to the male warrior. These gender tropes do not denote the actions of women and men in a time of war, but function instead to re-create and secure women's position as non-combatants and that of men as warriors. Thus, women have historically been marginalized in the consciousness of those who have researched the events of war. This article is largely based on interviews I conducted in the fall of 1993, in an Irish Catholic community in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I will offer both female and male interpretations of what women did and how they were affected by the upheavals of the Irish Nationalist struggle in Northern Ireland.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender Roles Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 1998

Commemorating Dead ‘Men’: Gendering the Past and Present in Post-conflict Northern Ireland


McDowell, Sara. 2008. “Commemorating Dead ‘Men’: Gendering the Past and Present in Post-conflict Northern Ireland.” Gender, Place and Culture 15 (4): 335-54.

Author: Sara McDowell


War is instrumental in shaping and negotiating gender identities. But what role does peace play in dispelling or affirming the gender order in post-conflict contexts? Building on a burgeoning international literature on representative landscapes and based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Northern Ireland between 2003 and 2006, this article explores the peacetime commemoration of the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ in order to explore the nuances of gender. Tellingly, the memorial landscapes cultivated since the inception of the paramilitary ceasefires in 1994 privilege male interpretations of the past (and, therefore, present). Gender parity, despite being enshrined within the 1998 Belfast Agreement which sought to draw a line under almost three decades of ethno-nationalist violence, remains an elusive utopia, as memorials continue to propagate specific roles for men and women in the ‘national project’. As the masculine ideologies of Irish Nationalism/Republicanism and British Unionism/Loyalism inscribe their respective disputant pasts into the streetscape, the narratives of women have been blurred and disrupted, begging the question: what role can they play in the future?

Keywords: Northern Ireland, gender, conflict, commemoration, nationalism

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Men, Gender Roles, Gender Equality/Inequality, Nationalism, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2008

'It’s Not Just Tea and Buns’: Women and Pro‐Union Politics in Northern Ireland


Ward, Rachel J. 2004. “‘It’s Not Just Tea and Buns’: Women and Pro‐union Politics in Northern Ireland.” The British Journal of Politics & International Relations 6 (4): 494-506.

Author: Rachel J. Ward


This article assesses the reasons for the ongoing under-representation of women in Northern Ireland politics, with particular reference to women who take a pro-union stance. The stereotype that unionist women ‘just make the tea’ is challenged through evidence that they participate in many different tiers of government and in community organisations. The article draws upon qualitative evidence of pro-union women’s political activism and their motivations, analysed through perspectives from the literature on gender, nationalism and participation. The article argues that while women remain under-represented, particularly in the more powerful and salaried regional and national levels of government, they also do more than the stereotype allows.

Topics: Gender, Women, Nationalism, Political Participation Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2004

Gender Integration in Armed Forces: Recent Policy Developments in the United Kingdom


Dandeker, Christopher, and Mady W. Segal. 1996. "Gender Integration in Armed Forces: Recent Policy Developments in the United Kingdom." Armed Forces & Society 23 (1): 29-47.

Authors: Christopher Dandeker, Mady W. Segal


This article reports on recent developments in policy on gender integration in the United Kingdom's armed forces, whereby women's employment opportunities have widened significantly since the early 1980s. These changes include increases in women's representation and the number of positions they are allowed to occupy; abolition of the Women's Royal Army Corps (WRAC) and Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS); assigning women to combat ships, and training women as jet fighter pilots. Drawing on official reports and statistics and formal interviews with military and civilian defense officials, we analyze the main factors that have led the United Kingdom to make these policy changes. These factors are: demographic pressures, sociocultural changes in gender definitions, legal constraints (particularly from the European Union), and changing views of policy makers on whether women can and should serve in combat roles. The article highlights a number of implications of the policy changes.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Livelihoods, Militarized livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 1996

A Gendered Uprising: Political Representation and Minority Ethnic Communities


Burlet, Stacey, and Helen Reid. 1998. “A Gendered Uprising: Political Representation and Minority Ethnic Communities.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 21 (2): 270-87.

Authors: Stacey Burlet, Helen Reid


This article explores the interface between gender and ethnicity in a microlevel study of a conflict which involved members of a minority ethnic community. Focusing on gender reactions to the unfolding conflict, it explores arguments raised by women in its aftermath. These arguments concern who has the right to define and represent them in public spaces in the future. The specific conflict examined took place in Bradford, UK, in 1995, and involved male Pakistani Muslim youths and the police. In the aftermath, public debate on the issue has centered on community representation in general and the role of male youth in particular. It is argued that the conflict also accelerated a process whereby Pakistani Muslim women are (re)defining intra- and inter-community relationships in the public sphere. This article affirms that the gender analysis being employed by these women to understand the events of 1995 has wider implications for the future management of plural societies, and poses a challenge to the dominance of men in creating, maintaining and managing public spaces.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Ethnicity, Gender, Gender Analysis Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 1998

Closing the Gender Gap: Postwar Education and Social Change


Arnot, Madeleine, Miriam E. David, and Gaby Weiner. 1999. Closing the Gender Gap: Postwar Education and Social Change. London: Polity Press.

Authors: Madeleine Arnot, Miriam E. David, Gaby Weiner


The education gender gap is closing. Since the 1980s, examination results have changed dramatically, as girls have 'caught up' with and, in some cases, overtaken boys. Through an analysis of the postwar transformation in British economic, social and cultural life, this important book provides valuable insights into how and why this unprecedented change has taken place. In particular, the book focuses on the welfare state and the education reforms under Margaret Thatcher which encouraged this momentum for change despite her personal efforts to re-instil Victorian education values. These reforms, the authors argue, coupled with the women's movement, re-shaped girls' and boys' identities and educational choices irrevocably, but not necessarily in the same or complementary ways. Closing the Gender Gap will be essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students in education, sociology and gender studies.

Topics: Education, Gender Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 1999


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