Gender and the 1999 War in and Around Kosovo


Milojevic, Ivana. 2003. “Gender and the 1999 War in and Around Kosovo.” Social Alternatives 22 (2): 28-36.

Author: Ivana Milojevic


No war has taken place without being influenced by society's gender politics. In turn, each war has, as well, influenced gender relationships. But even with all the development of feminist theory, gender is rarely seen as a factor influencing the shape, meaning and prosecution of wars. The 1999 war in and around Kosovo, Serbia was no exception to this. Political and military leaders all claimed to be leading politics in the interest of their people, irrespective of gender. The 1999 war in Kosovo was, in general, seen as gender irrelevant, except, for propaganda purposes where each side stressed out the  suffering of women. This article challenges the gender neutrality of this particular war. It also discusses how gender relationships and masculinities defined by patriarchy influenced this conflict. And lastly, the article concludes by arguing that long-term changes in gender relationships and abandonment of dominant worldview are crucial in building a more peaceful world. To move towards societies that promote more lasting peace it is needed to move both beyond social hierarchical arrangements as well as from international politics that legitimizes violence. Neither is possible without abandoning patriarchy.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Kosovo

Year: 2003

© 2023 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