Female Combatants in Postconflict Processes: Understanding the Roots of Exclusion


Henshaw, Alexis Leanna. 2020. "Female Combatants in Postconflict Settings: Understanding the Roots of Exclusion." Journal of Global Security Studies 5 (1): 63-79. 

Author: Alexis Leanna Henshaw


Research on contemporary internal armed conflicts has consistently shown that women are active in most armed insurgencies, in groups with varied ideologies, and in every region of the world. However, scholarship from feminist security studies shows that, not only are women still generally underrepresented in peace processes, but women affiliated with rebel groups in particular are more likely to be excluded from disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) efforts. Closing this gap is a necessary next step for improving the security of women. This article draws on feminist theory and feminist security studies literature to highlight four factors that contribute to the exclusion of insurgent women from DDR efforts: attributions of agency, gendered hierarchy within groups, the tendency to collapse complex intersectionalities, and the pressure for patriarchal reordering after conflict. Drawing on selected cases, I illustrate each of these factors at work and discuss the implications for female ex-combatants, policy-makers, and scholars.

Keywords: gender, DDR, civil conflict, feminist security studies

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peace and Security, Post-Conflict, Peace Processes, Security

Year: 2020

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