Colombia: Women Waging War and Peace


Darden, Jessica Trisko, Alexis Henshaw, and Ora Szekely. 2019. "Colombia: Women Waging War and Peace." In Insurgent Women: Female Combatants in Civil Wars, 57-77. Georgetown University Press.

Authors: Jessica Trisko Darden, Alexis Henshaw, Ora Szekely


“This chapter offers an overview of how women have been mobilized in the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC) and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army, or ELN). Given the long- standing history of these two groups, we pay particular attention to exploring how mobilization processes have evolved. Specifically, our analysis shows that women became more engaged and strategically important to the FARC over time, eventually culminating in the highly visible presence of women as negotiators during the Havana talks. Over time there has also been an ideological evolution among armed groups on the Colombian left regarding gender rights and LGBTQ rights that coincides with the growing importance of women in the conflict. We argue that this evolution is a by-product, rather than a cause, of the engagement and advancement of women within these groups. It appears that various armed groups (at least on the left) have emulated one another in ideological development, in strategies related to the use of women, and in the inclusion of women in peace talks. These coincident evolutions suggest a dynamic of “outbidding” among these groups” (Darden, Henshaw, and Szekely, 2019, 58-59).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peace Processes, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2019

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