Khaki in the Family: Gender Discourses and Militarism in Nigeria


Mama, Amina. 1998. “Khaki in the Family: Gender Discourses and Militarism in Nigeria.” African Studies Review 41 (2): 1-17. doi:10.2307/524824.

Author: Amina Mama


The Nigerian military state has used gender politics for its own ends, exploiting opportunities afforded by international concern with women. The highly publicized program for rural women enabled the regime of Babangida to gain international credibility. The Abacha regime did not seek or win international support, but sought to upstage the gender politics of their predecessors locally by mounting more broadly populist programs which promised benefits to "the family" and further reinscribed women within highly limited reproductive roles. Because Nigerian civil society has been so reluctant to engage with gender, the military have been able to appropriate the terrain they refer to as "women development" for their own ends. Through a series of high profile programs, they have neutralized the potentially subversive and inherently antimilitarist notion of women's liberation, and propagated a gender politics which normalizes military rule.

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 1998

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