Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version


Withdrawing from Politics? Gender, Agency and Women Ex-Fighters in Nepal


Ketola, Hanna. 2020. “Withdrawing from Politics? Gender, Agency and Women Ex-Fighters in Nepal.” Security Dialogue. doi: 10.1177:0967010620906322.

Author: Hanna Ketola


Conceptualizations of post-conflict agency have been widely debated in feminist security studies and critical international relations studies. This article distinguishes between three feminist approaches to post-conflict agency: narrative of return, representations of agency and local agency. It argues that all these approaches in distinct ways emphasize a modality of agency as resistance. To offer a more encompassing account of post-conflict agency the article engages Saba Mahmood’s (2012) critique of the modality of agency in feminist theory and her decoupling of agency from resistance. The article explores experiences of women who fought in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Nepal. It focuses on ‘withdrawing from politics’, a dynamic whereby women ex-fighters move away from party activities and the public sphere, and rearticulates this withdrawing as a location of political agency. The article argues that being an ‘ex-PLA’ emerges as a form of subjectivity that is crafted through experiencing war and encountering peacebuilding, enabling a production of heterogeneous modalities of agency in the post-conflict context. By examining these modalities, the article challenges us to rethink post-conflict agency beyond the capacity to subvert regulatory gender norms and/or discourses of liberal peace.

Keywords: agency, conflict, gender, peacebuilding

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Post-Conflict, Peacebuilding, Political Participation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2020

Gendered Political Settlements and Peacebuilding: Mapping Inclusion in Practice


Yousuf, Zahbia, and Sophia Close. 2019. "Gendered Political Settlements and Peacebuilding: Mapping Inclusion in Practice." feminists@law 9 (1).  

Authors: Zahbia Yousuf, Sophia Close


This paper looks at practice-research methods used by Conciliation Resources (CR), an international peacebuilding organisation, as part of the Political Settlements Research Project. Between 2015 and 2017, Conciliation Resources and its partners convened three learning workshops in Nepal, Colombia, and Bougainville. The workshops ‘tested’ understandings of political settlements in conflict-affected contexts, with a specific focus on gender, through participatory practice-based research. The paper explores how co-learning approaches were developed and designed between CR and its partners: including how questions of inclusion, gender and political settlements were adapted to specific contexts; the approaches and methods developed; and the challenges and potential for research to influence peacebuilding practice. It also provides a critical reflection on the processes and outcomes of co-learning between international and local partners.

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Peacebuilding Regions: Americas, South America, Asia, South Asia, Oceania Countries: Colombia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea

Year: 2019

Gender, Conflict and Security: Perspectives from South Asia


Singh, Shweta. 2017. "Gender, Conflict and Security: Perspectives from South Asia." Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs 4 (2): 149-57.

Author: Shweta Singh


This article provides an overview to this special issue of JASIA, entitled ‘Gender, Conflict and Security: Perspectives from South Asia’. Gender intersects with conflict and security and yet remains at the margins of academic theorizing, policy priority and practitioner perspectives in South Asia. This special issue puts forth fresh insights into how and why the lived experiences of women in South Asia (particularly from areas of protracted conflict such as Nepal, India and Sri Lanka) are different? And how and why these impinge on the global discourse on security? It argues that this analysis is pertinent not just from the standpoint of academic theorizing on security but also from the perspective of international security policy like the United Nations led Women, Peace and Security Agenda. This is the 17th year of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, and only Nepal and Afghanistan in South Asia have a National Action Plan. This special issue also critically examines the key gaps in the international policy on Women, Peace and Security Agenda and how it ‘speaks’ or ‘not speaks’ to the contextual reality of South Asia.

Keywords: gender, conflict, security, South Asia, women peace and security, UNSCR 1325

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Women, International Organizations, Peacebuilding, Peace and Security, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Year: 2017

What Prevents Peace? Women and Peacebuilding in Bosnia and Nepal


Berry, Marie E., and Trishna R. Rana. 2019. “What Prevents Peace? Women and Peacebuilding in Bosnia and Nepal.” Peace & Change 44 (3): 321–49.

Authors: Marie E. Berry, Trishna R. Rana


There is an emerging consensus that women must play a more substantial role in transformations from violence to stability. The UN Women, Peace, and Security framework recognizes the unique challenges women face during war and affirms the important role they play in the prevention and resolution of conflicts. Despite this framework and other related efforts, peace remains elusive for many who have lived through armed conflict. What prevents formal, internationally led peacebuilding efforts from fostering sustainable peace in ordinary citizens’ lives? Put differently, despite the variety of peacebuilding mechanisms offered, what prevents peace from taking hold, for women in particular? In this paper, we focus on two postwar cases: Bosnia and Nepal. Drawing on interviews with more than seventy women in both countries, we identify five barriers that prevent women from feeling at peace in their daily lives: economic insecurity, competing truths, hierarchies of victimhood, continuums of violence, and spatial and temporal dislocation. We conclude by outlining ways that women in both countries work to overcome those barriers by pioneering innovations in peacebuilding, which may reveal possibilities for future interventions.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Economies, Gender, Women, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Nepal

Year: 2019

Living Maoist Gender Ideology: Experiences of Women Ex-Combatants in Nepal


K.C., Luna, and Gemma Van Der Haar. 2019. "Living Maoist Gender Ideology: Experiences of Women Ex-combatants in Nepal." International Feminist Journal of Politics 21 (3): 434-53.

Authors: Luna K.C., Gemma Van Der Haar


Studies of women’s participation in civil conflict as armed combatants have attributed diverse motivations to such participation and examined the implications of participation for women’s empowerment in the aftermath. The authors contribute to these studies through an in-depth analysis of female combatants’ struggles for equality and empowerment during and after Nepal’s decade-long Maoist conflict. Scholars have argued that the emphasis of Maoist ideology in Nepal on the emancipation of women and on ending gender discrimination attracted a large number of women to the cause. Based on narratives of Maoist female ex-combatants, the authors investigate women’s engagement with Maoist ideology during and after the conflict. These narratives reveal that despite discourses of gender equality in Nepal’s Maoist struggle, promises around gender equality remain unkept in the period after the war. A reintegration program has offered women ex-combatants few options and has pushed women back into traditional gender roles. Struggles continue in this terrain. Incorporating intersectionality, the paper highlights how women ex-combatants’ gender identities intersect with caste and other social locations to produce diverse challenges for their lives.

Keywords: Maoist armed conflict, gender ideology, empowerment, women ex-combatants, post-conflict Nepal

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Caste, Combatants, Female Combatants, Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2019

What’s War Got to Do with It? Post-Conflict Effects on Gender Equality in South and Southeast Asia, 1975–2006


Bhattacharya, Srobana and Courtney Burns. 2019. “What’s War Got to Do with It? Post-Conflict Effects on Gender Equality in South and Southeast Asia, 1975–2006.” Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs 6 (1): 55-81.

Authors: Srobana Bhattacharya, Courtney Burns


Does gender equality get better or worse following civil conflict? Given the plethora of research linking gender equality to less bellicosity, we aim to look at the relationship between post-conflict situations and gender equality. Specifically, we argue that circumstances surrounding how a conflict ends can better explain gender equality levels in a country in the post-conflict set up. We discuss whether outright victory for rebel groups will have the best impact for women due to the regime change and democratic process that typically follows. We conduct a Qualitative Comparative Analysis of 13 cases of intrastate conflicts in South and Southeast Asia for the years 1975–2006 along with an in-depth case study of Nepal.We find that rebel victory does have a positive impact on women in post-conflict situations when religious freedom was high, the conflict was centre seeking and wanted to establish a democratic regime.

Keywords: post-conflict, gender equality, conflict termination, civil war

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Democracy / Democratization, Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Post-Conflict, Religion Regions: Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2019

Women's Organizations and Peace Initiatives


Tripp, Aili Mari. 2018. "Women’s Organizations and Peace Initiatives." In The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Conflict, edited by Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Naomi R. Cahn, Dina Francesca Haynes, and Nahla Valji, 430-441. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Author: Aili Mari Tripp


Women’s peace movements in the post–Cold War era frequently share three common characteristics: a grassroots and local focus due to exclusion from formal peace negotiations; an early and sustained commitment to bridging differences between factions; and the use of international and regional pressures to create success on the local level. This chapter reviews each of these characteristics through case studies. Examples from Sri Lanka, Somalia, and Nepal illustrate the successes and challenges of grassroots or local peace movements led by women. Peace processes in Burundi, led by women activists, exemplify a commitment to unity across ethnic lines. The chapter concludes with examples from Liberia and Sierra Leone, demonstrating the efficacy of international and regional organizations supporting local peace movements.

Keywords: women's peace movement, peace process, women activists, grassroots peace movement, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Nepal, Burundi

Topics: Civil Society, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, International Organizations, Post-Conflict, Peacekeeping, Peace Processes Regions: Africa, East Africa, Asia, South Asia Countries: Burundi, Nepal, Somalia, Sri Lanka

Year: 2018

Social Transformation in Post-Conflict Nepal: A Gender Perspective


Punam, Yadav. 2016. Social Transformation in Post-Conflict Nepal: A Gender Perspective. New York: Routledge.

Author: Punam Yadav


The concept of social transformation has been increasingly used to study significant political, socio-economic and cultural changes affected by individuals and groups. This book uses a novel approach from the gender perspective and from bottom up to analyse social transformation in Nepal, a country with a complex traditional structure of caste, class, ethnicity, religion and regional locality and the experience of the ten-year of People’s War (1996-2006).
Through extensive interviews with women in post-conflict Nepal, this book analyses the intended and unintended impacts of conflict and traces the transformations in women’s understandings of themselves and their positions in public life. It raises important questions for the international community about the inevitable victimization of women during mass violence, but it also identifies positive impacts of armed conflict. The book also discusses how the Maoist insurgency had empowering effects on women.
The first study to provide empirical evidence on the relationship between armed conflict and social transformation from gender’s perspectives, this book is a major contribution to the field of transitional justice and peacebuilding in post-armed-conflict Nepal. It is of interest to academics researching South Asia, Gender, Peace and Conflict Studies and Development Studies. (Summary from Routledge)
Table of Contents:
1. Locating Social Transformation in Current Discourse
2. Understanding the Processes of Social Transformation: Thinking Beyond Structures
3. Social Structure of Nepal: A Historical Overview
4. Women in Politics and the Unintended Consequences
5. Tea Stall Story: The Power of One
6. Women Combatants: Challenging Habitus
7. White Sari - Transforming Widowhood in Nepal
8. Women Tempo Drivers: Challenging Doxa
9. Conclusion: Rethinking Social Transformation

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Justice, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Peacebuilding Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2016

Effects of Armed Conflict on Agricultural Markets and Post-conflict Engagement of Women in Export-led Agriculture in Nepal


Upreti, Bishnu Raj, Yamuna Ghale, and Sony KC. 2016. "Effects of Armed Conflict on Agricultural Markets and Post-conflict Engagement of Women in Export-led Agriculture in Nepal." Journal of International Women's Studies, 18 (1): 156-80.

Authors: Bishnu Raj Upreti, Yamuna Ghale, Sony KC


Nepal entered into a new era after ending 10 years of civil war through signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the government and the rebel radical Maoist party in November, 2006. Women’s positions were constitutionally secured and space widened for the engagement of women in the broad social, political and economic spheres. Therefore, the postconflict context provided tremendous opportunities for women to engage in high value commercial agricultural business. The main objectives of the study were a) to examine the effects of armed conflict on agricultural markets, and b) to analyse the state of women’s engagement in high value agricultural exports and its role in market revival. This study involved qualitative research to analyse women’s engagement in commercial agriculture with a specific focus on the marketing of large cardamom (Amomum Subulatum Roxb.), which does not include the small cardamom (Elettaria Cardamomum, Maton). The main finding of this study is the proactive engagement of women in high value, low volume commercial agriculture and its positive contribution to the social, economic and political spheres at individual, households and community levels in Nepal. Women were recognised more in society once they engaged in commercial agriculture especially when they were members of cooperatives and in the position of sanctioning the loans as members of the executive committee to local people (including men). They were also offered political positions in the party structures. They were, comparatively, economically stronger and independent. However, while the government’s efforts were appreciated they were not able to secure better prices for the cash crops and tackle the disease problem. Women were not able to secure a better price in the study area due to lack of up-to-date market price information. Further, in the past 7-10 years their cardamom plants suffered heavily from disease (appearance of black spots on leaves, shrinking, and gradually drying of the leaves which people locally called ChhirkeFurke) affecting production. 

Keywords: export agriculture, women farmers, Nepal, post-conflict engagement

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Agriculture, Economies, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Political Participation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2016

Gender and Defence Sector Reform: Problematising the Place of Women in Conflict-Affected Environments


Gordon, Eleanor. 2019. “Gender and Defence Sector Reform: Problematising the Place of Women in Conflict-Affected Environments.” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 13 (1): 75–94.

Author: Eleanor Gordon


While gender-responsive Security Sector Reform (SSR) is increasingly recognised as being key to successful SSR programmes, women continue to be marginalised in post-conflict SSR programmes, particularly defence sector reform. By focussing on developments in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kosovo and Colombia, this article explores the paradox of women’s marginalisation in defence sector reform and post-reform defence structures in places where women were active combatants during the preceding conflict. This article refers to examples of women’s engagement in combat to challenge some of the reasons given for women’s marginalisation, including reference to women’s skillset, aptitude and interests. The article adopts a feminist institutionalist approach to show how SSR helps security sector institutions construct and reconstruct gender power relations, reinforce gendered dynamics of exclusion, and determine gendered outcomes. It concludes by drawing attention to the transformational potential of SSR to alter gender power relations, and thereby enhance the security of women and the sustainability of peacebuilding efforts.

Keywords: defence sector reform, security sector reform, female combatants, gender, peacebuilding

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Peacebuilding, Security Sector Reform Regions: Americas, South America, Asia, South Asia, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Colombia, Kosovo, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Year: 2019


© 2021 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

Subscribe to RSS - Nepal