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Female Combatants

Why Women Rebel: Understanding Women’s Participation in Armed Rebel Groups

Citation:

Henshaw, Alexis Leanna. Why Women Rebel: Understanding Women’s Participation in Armed Rebel Groups. Routledge Studies in Gender and Global Politics. London; New York: Routledge, 2017.

Author: Alexis Leanna Henshaw

Abstract:

‘Why Women Rebel’ presents a global analysis of the extent to which women are engaged in armed, organized rebellions, and why they choose to join such rebellions. Henshaw has collected and analyzed data on women's participation in over 70 post-Cold War rebel groups and provides a theoretical analysis drawing upon both mainstream literature in the social sciences and critical, feminist inquiry on women and political violence to offer a new gendered theory on why women rebel. The book demonstrates that women are active in well over half of all rebel groups sampled and that, while the majority of rebel groups have women serving in support roles away from direct combat, approximately a third of groups employ women in the conduct of armed attacks, and just over a quarter have women in a leadership capacity. Henshaw reaffirms the idea that women are more likely to be engaged in left-wing political organizations, but does suggest that more conservative or traditional movements may also successfully incorporate women by appealing to concerns about community rights. This book will be of interest to academics in the fields of political science, international relations, security studies, and gender and women's studies. (Abstract from WorldCat)

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state armed groups

Year: 2017

Bringing Women’s Voices Back In: Conducting Narrative Analysis in IR

Citation:

Harel-Shalev, Ayelet, and Shir Daphna-Tekoah. “Bringing Women’s Voices Back In: Conducting Narrative Analysis in IR.” International Studies Review 18, no. 2 (June 2016): 171–94.

Authors: Ayelet Harel-Shalev, Shir Daphna-Tekoah

Abstract:

In exploring wars and conflicts, Critical Security Studies and Feminist International Relations (IR) use various methodologies, including nontraditional avenues of inquiry. This study follows these theoretical and methodological perspectives and suggests a methodology that will contribute to contemporary debates in IR. Specifically, the study offers an innovative application of Carol Gilligan’s method, the “Listening Guide” (LG). The research demonstrates the utility of the LG analysis in uncovering additional forms of knowledge regarding armed conflicts. The context for analysis is women in combat. The implementation of the LG assists us in uncovering various voices, representing different aspects of the women combatants’ experiences in a conflict zone. In this study, this analytical tool, applied to conduct narrative research, enabled the researchers to hear both multiple and silenced voices. We suggest that this methodology should continue to be used in future studies and incorporated into the Security Studies and IR toolkit. (Abstract from original source)

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Military Forces & Armed Groups

Year: 2016

Demobilized Women Combatants: Lessons from Colombia

Citation:

Giraldo, Saridalia. 2012. “Demobilized Women Combatants: Lessons from Colombia.” Paper presented at the Thinking Gender Conference, UCLA Center for the Study of Women, Los Angeles, February 3.

Author: Saridalia Giraldo

Abstract:

In Colombia, a country with one of the longest civil wars in the world, women combatants return to civil society in the midst of ongoing tension. In this transition, women suffer triple difficulties: the reaction of their home communities; hostility from armed illegal groups still engaged in conflict, and disregarding from the government itself. What accounts for these obstacles? First, in a patriarchal society such as Colombia, demobilized women face the denigration of their community which views women’s participation in armed conflict as an infringement on traditional female roles. Second, in the midst of continued conflict, demobilized women are also in danger of being rerecruited, tortured, killed or displaced from their home towns by their former peers in combat who perceive them as traitors, or by active criminal groups who consider them as enemies. Third, public policy designed to demobilize and reintegrate combatants gives little attention to women´s special needs as victims of gender violence. Recognizing that women and their needs remain invisible, this paper proposes that formal and informal post-conflict measures in Colombia must be gendersensitized in order to effectively reintegrate women and men into civilian life.
 

Keywords: women combatants, demobilization, reintegration, DDR, peace-building, Colombia, civil war, guerrillas, FARC, sexual violence

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Gender Roles, Gender-Based Violence, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, Violence, Weapons /Arms Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2012

'I Acted like a Man’: Exploring Female Ex-Insurgents’ Narratives on Nigeria’s Oil Insurgency

Citation:

Oriola, Temitope. 2016. “‘I Acted like a Man’: Exploring Female Ex-Insurgents’ Narratives on Nigeria’s Oil Insurgency.” Review of African Political Economy 43 (149): 451–69. doi:10.1080/03056244.2016.1182013.

Author: Temitope Oriola

Abstract:

English Abstract:
This paper explores how a small sample of female ex-insurgents make sense of their engagement in Nigeria’s oil insurgency. The study is informed by three key questions: How did Delta women join the insurgency? Why did they join? How do they frame their participation? The paper analyses the prevalence of a masculinising rhetoric among participants. The majority of participants view their roles in the insurgency as antithetical to their gender. The implications of these findings are explored. Overall, the paper contributes to the growing body of work on women’s engagement in armed conflict as perpetrators rather than victims of violence.
 
French Abstract:
[« J’ai agi comme un homme » : l’étude des histoires des ex-insurgées sur l’insurrection liée au pétrole au Nigeria.] Cet article examine comment quelques ex-insurgées donnent du sens à leur engagement dans l’insurrection liée au pétrole au Nigéria. Cette étude tente de répondre à trois questions clés : Comment est-ce que les femmes du Delta ont rejoint l’insurrection? Pourquoi l’ont-elles rejoint? Comment est-ce qu’elles formulent leur participation? L’article analyse la prévalence d’une rhétorique masculinisante parmi les participants. La majorité des participants voit son rôle dans l’insurrection comme opposé à son genre. Les implications de ces résultats sont examinées. Dans l’ensemble, l’article contribue à la masse croissante de travail sur l’engagement des femmes dans les conflits armés, où elles sont considérées comme des responsables de la violence plutôt que comme des victimes.

Keywords: Niger Women, women and political violence, oil insurgency, Nigeria

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Female Perpetrators Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2016

Demobilized Women in Colombia: Embodiment, Performativity and Social Reconciliation

Citation:

Anctil Avoine, Priscyll, and Rachel Tillman. 2015. “Demobilized Women in Colombia: Embodiment, Performativity and Social Reconciliation.” In Female Combatants in Conflict and Peace, edited by Seema Shekhawat, 216–31. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Authors: Priscyll Anctil Avoine, Rachel Tillman

Abstract:

Colombia has been divided by armed conflict for over half a century. While still confronting multiple forms of violence, since the beginning of the peace talks in 2012 public attention in Colombia has shifted to social reconciliation. In June 2014, Colombians re-elected Juan Manuel Santos as president, his campaign having made peace the centre of attention. The peace negotiations in Havana have been widely recognized as promising by the national and international community, and an agreement with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia — Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP)1 is closer than ever. Women have been considerably marginalized in this peace process, however, especially those who played an active role in the armed conflict. These women experience a double alienation: not only has their participation in the perpetration of violence been largely invisible, but this failure to recognize their presence in the conflict means that they are also being overlooked in the peace-building process. Furthermore, their non-traditional performance of their own gender will make it very difficult for them as women to carve out a place in a post-conflict society. (Abstract from Springer)

Annotation:

"This chapter draws on Judith Butler’s work on gender performativity to articulate a framework of analysis for understanding the possible role of demobilized women in the Colombian peace process. We analyze from the perspective of embodied gender performativity a bibliography of narrative accounts of demobilized women in various regions of Colombia gathered by the Centro National de Memoria Histórica. We also conducted semi-structured interviews of key actors within the demobilization process, specifically with people who have had direct and sustained contact with women ex-combatants. Although these sources are not necessarily statistically representative of the wide range of women involved in combat in Colombia, they nonetheless allow us to build a preliminary panorama of the relationship between gender performativity and the lives of women combatants before, during and after the conflict" (Avoine & Tillman, 2015, p. 216-17). 
 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Peace Processes Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2015

Militarized Gender Performativity: Women and Demobilization in Colombia’s FARC and AUC

Citation:

Mendez, Andrea. 2012. “Militarized Gender Performativity: Women and Demobilization in Colombia’s FARC and AUC.” Master's Thesis, Queen’s University.

Author: Andrea Mendez

Abstract:

Women are usually represented as victims in the literature on conflict and conflict resolution. While women are indeed victims of violence in the context of conflict, this representation excludes the experiences of women who have joined and fought in illegal armed groups. Little is known about the lives of women who fight alongside men in illegal militarised organizations. These women are often overlooked during peace negotiations and in the design and implementation of Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration programs, affecting their conditions and experiences during the transition to civilian life. The Colombian conflict presents an important case study regarding the militarization of women in illegal armed groups, and the experience of demobilization, and is the focus of this dissertation. To address this case study, the concept of “militarized gender performativity” is advanced, drawing on the works of Cynthia Enloe and Judith Butler. In the Colombian case, both left–wing and right–wing armed groups have incorporated women into their ranks. This research elucidates the effects of non– state militarism on the social processes that produce and reproduce gender systems in two of Colombia’s illegal armed groups, uncovering how the FARC and the AUC construct, negotiate, challenge, or reinforce gender roles. The research indicates that there are significant differences in the way this is done. Interviews with ex–combatants from the FARC and the AUC show that women’s sexuality plays a central role in the militarization of women combatants in both organizations, but there are specific policies that establish the nature of the relationships in each group. These differences represent distinct militarized femininities which maintain aspects of traditional gender relations while transforming others according to the needs of the organization in question. The transformation of gender identities in each of the armed groups reveals the performative nature of gender roles in a militarized context.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Militarization, Peace Processes Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2012

Untapped Resources for Peace: A Comparative Study of Women’s Organizations of Guerrilla Ex-Combatants in Colombia and El Salvador

Citation:

Dietrich Ortega, Luisa Maria. 2015. “Untapped Resources for Peace: A Comparative Study of Women’s Organizations of Guerrilla Ex-Combatants in Colombia and El Salvador.” In Female Combatants in Conflict and Peace, edited by Seema Shekhawat, 232–49. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Author: Luisa Maria Dietrich Ortega

Abstract:

Over the past decades, the international community has increased efforts to enhance spaces of women’s meaningful participation in all spheres of conflict to post-conflict transition. The acknowledgement of women as essential actors for sustainable peace has prompted advocacy activities to include women in planning, implementing and monitoring of peace-building efforts. Despite significant advances in the field, the challenge remains to overcome stereotypical notions that associate women as passive bystanders or only as bearers of the violent consequences of armed conflicts, while ignoring the role women play as political actors. A step towards a more inclusive and holistic transition consists of exploring contributions the female actors in armed conflict can bring to peace-building. Female ex-combatants have played active political and military roles in insurgent organizations. Besides their first-hand experience in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes, some of them maintain connections with former insurgent groups and may influence processes from within. In that sense, organizations of female ex-combatants constitute an untapped resource for the promotion of gender-responsive transitions. (Abstract from Springer)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Peacebuilding, Political Participation, Post-Conflict Regions: Americas, Central America, South America Countries: Colombia, El Salvador

Year: 2015

Women, War and Empowerment: A Case Study of Female Ex-Combatants in Colombia

Citation:

Magnæs Gjelsvik, Ingvild. 2010. “Women, War and Empowerment: A Case Study of Female Ex-Combatants in Colombia.” Master’s Thesis, Peace Research Institute Oslo, University of Tromsø.

Author: Ingvild Magnæs Gjelsvik

Annotation:

"While we have seen an increased focus in the past few decades on the role of women in armed conflict, women are still chiefly perceived and categorized as victims, civilians or being in supporting roles for male fighters (Goldstein 2001). Women‟s direct participation as combatants has received less attention. Existing literature is dominated by discourses on victimhood and vulnerability, with attention mainly focused on the negative experiences women have. In the Colombian context, little has been written about women's gains as combatants; the focus has rather been directed at issues such as forced recruitment, sexual exploitation, and forced abortions. The positive experiences women obtain from being part of armed groups has been less visible, often unknown outside the armed groups. This thesis represents an effort to offer a more nuanced and multifaceted perspective on women's experiences in war in Colombia. The analysis proceeds from the research question: To what extent are women empowered by joining guerrilla groups in Colombia?" (Gjelsvik, 2010, p. 6).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2010

Reintegración y emprendimiento, análisis del programa de educación para el trabajo de la ACR para mujeres excombatientes

Citation:

Matiz Cortés, Stefanie. 2016. “Reintegración y emprendimiento, análisis del programa de educación para el trabajo de la ACR para mujeres excombatientes.” Master’s Thesis, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.

Author: Stefanie Matiz Cortés

Abstract:

Spanish abstract:

En esta investigación se hizo un análisis del programa de formación para el trabajo, que hace parte de la ruta de Reintegración Económica de la ACR, con el propósito de determinar si dicho programa lograba dar respuesta a las necesidades y expectativas sobre actividades productivas de las mujeres desmovilizadas de grupos armados. Para ello se realizó un estudio de tipo etnográfico – colaborativo que permitió comprender con las excombatientes, cómo y bajo qué condiciones se está desarrollando la dimensión productiva. Propone la profundización en el enfoque de género que tiene actualmente la Ruta de Reintegración con el fin de lograr que las exintegrantes de grupos armados logren reintegrarse en condiciones ajustadas a su realidad, sus intereses y sus posibilidades. En este sentido se rescata como elemento esencial las narrativas de las mujeres entrevistadas, ya que analizando sus necesidades, es indispensable que no se anule esa experiencia femenina dentro de la dinámica de la guerra y las transformaciones que experimenta en la sociedad. Por último se establece que es poco adecuado que los programas de emprendimiento sean considerados como un mecanismo de salida a la pobreza o una solución para impulsar el retorno de la población desmovilizada a la legalidad de forma autosostenible. Sencillamente porque el programa está planteado desde una perspectiva de emprendimiento por necesidad y no de emprendimiento por oportunidad, lo que va en contra de la naturaleza del emprendimiento y lleva la política al fracaso, pues lo que deberían ser empresas resultantes de aptitudes emprendedoras resultan siendo nada más que mecanismos simples de autoempleo (Abstract from original source​).

English abstract:

The purpose of this research was to analyze and look at the work of “the job training program”, as part of the economic reintegration path of the Colombian Agency for Reintegration, whose main objective was to determine if such program could give an answer to the needs and expectations of productive activities of armed group demobilized women .To do this, a collaborative-ethnographic study was conducted to better understand with the ex combats how and under what conditions productive dimensions have been developed. This research highlights the gender approach that the reintegration path currently has, in order to ensure that the former members of armed groups can reintegrate in fair conditions according to their reality, interests and possibilities. In this sense it is highlighted as an essential element the stories and narratives of interviewed women, as analyzing their needs is indispensable not to eliminate this feminine experience within the dynamics of the war and the transformations it faces in the society. Finally, it is stated that it is not appropriate that entrepreneurial programs can be considered as a mechanism to get out of the poverty trap or a solution to foster the comeback of demobilized population to legality in a self-sustainable way. Simply because the program is stated from the perspective of entrepreneurship due to necessities but entrepreneurship for opportunities, what goes against the nature of entrepreneurship and leads the initiative to failure, so what it should be seen as companies resulting in entrepreneurial attitudes it ends up as simple mechanisms of self employment (Translation from original source​).

 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, DDR Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2016

Sexual Victimization, Health Status, and VA Healthcare Utilization Among Lesbian and Bisexual OEF/OIF Veterans

Citation:

Mattocks, Kristin M., Anne Sadler, Elizabeth M. Yano, Erin E. Krebs, Laurie Zephyrin, Cynthia Brandt, Rachel Kimerling, Theo Sandfort, Melissa E. Dichter, Jeffrey J. Weiss, Jeroan Allison, and Sally Haskell. 2013. “Sexual Victimization, Health Status, and VA Healthcare Utilization Among Lesbian and Bisexual OEF/OIF Veterans.” Journal of General Internal Medicine 28 (S2): S604–8. 

Authors: Kristin M. Mattocks, Anne Sadler, Elizabeth M. Yano, Erin E. Krebs, Laurie Zephyrin, Cynthia Brandt, Rachel Kimerling, Theo Sandfort, Melissa E. Dichter, Jeffrey J. Weiss, Jeroan Allison, Sally Haskell

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Many lesbian and bisexual (LB) women veterans may have been targets of victimization in the military based on their gender and presumed sexual orientation, and yet little is known regarding the health or mental health of LB veterans, nor the degree to which they feel comfortable receiving care in the VA. 
 
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of mental health and gender-specific conditions, VA healthcare satisfaction and trauma exposure among LB veterans receiving VA care compared with heterosexually-identified women veterans receiving. 
 
DESIGN: Prospective cohort study of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) women veterans at two large VA facilities. 
 
PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred and sixty five women veterans that completed a baseline survey. Thirty-five veterans (9.6 %) identified as gay or lesbian (4.7 %), or bisexual (4.9 %). 
 
MAIN MEASURES: Measures included sexual orientation, military sexual trauma, mental and gender-specific health diagnoses, and VA healthcare utilization and satisfaction. 
 
KEY RESULTS: LB OEF/OIF veterans were significantly more likely to have experienced both military and childhood sexual trauma than heterosexual women (MST: 31 % vs. 13 %, p<.001; childhood sexual trauma: 60 % vs. 36 %, p=.01), to be hazardous drinkers (32 % vs. 16 %, p=.03) and rate their current mental health as worse than before deployment (35 % vs. 16 %, p<.001). 
 
CONCLUSIONS: Many LB veterans have experienced sexual victimization, both within the military and as children, and struggle with substance abuse and poor mental health. Health care providers working with female Veterans should be aware of high rates of military sexual trauma and childhood abuse and refer women to appropriate VA treatment and support groups for sequelae of these experiences. Future research should focus on expanding this study to include a larger and more diverse sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender veterans receiving care at VA facilities across the country. (C) Society of General Internal Medicine 2013

Keywords: lesbian, health services research, veterans, women

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, PTSD, Trauma, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2013

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