Assessing the Significance of Women in Combat Roles


Trisko Darden, Jessica. 2015. "Assessing the Significance of Women in Combat Roles." International Journal: Canada’s Journal Of Global Policy Analysis 70 (3): 454-462. 

Author: Jessica Trisko Darden


What should we know about the roles of women in armed conflicts? I review the existing literature on women’s roles in regular and irregular conflicts to identify gaps in our understanding of the significance of female combatants. I draw on contemporary and historical cases of women’s combat participation across world regions and, in so doing, I challenge existing assumptions about the limits of women’s participation in armed conflict. Examining women as a group and expecting conflict to affect this group in predictable and easily identifiable ways only reinforces existing assumptions about women and war. To understand the range of motivations underlying women’s decisions to fight or to not fight, we should give greater attention to opportunity structures and other social conditions rather than simply assuming that women have different incentives than men.

Keywords: gender, combat, conflict, militaries, security, war, women

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Security

Year: 2015

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