Beyond Survival: Militarism, Equity and Women’s Security


Mama, Amina. 2014. “Beyond Survival: Militarism, Equity and Women’s Security.” In Development and Equity: An Interdisciplinary Exploration by Ten Scholars from Africa, Asia and Latin America, edited by Dick Foeken, Ton Dietz, Leo De Haan, and Linda Johnson, 29-46. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV.

Author: Amina Mama


This paper explores the tension between the prospects for equitable development and the global investments in militarism. It argues that militarism – a highly gendered economic, political and cultural phenomenon – not only sustains underdevelopment in poorer nations, but also poses a key obstacle to gender equity in militarized societies more generally. Evidence from current research on the Nigerian, Liberian and Sierra Leonean civil wars illustrates women’s increased participation in more recent conflicts, their improvised livelihood strategies and their contribution in peace activism. In the era of neoliberal globalization, postcolonial militarism continues to undermine the prospects for democratization, social justice and genuine security, especially for women. An effective strategy for addressing the dual perils of militarism and gender inequality requires strengthening the work of the women’s movements, to engage in more effective evidence-based advocacy that highlights and challenges the gendered political, economic and cultural foundations of militarism and insecurity.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Combatants, Female Combatants, Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Political Participation Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

Year: 2014

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