Why Women Rebel: Greed, Grievance, and Women in Armed Rebel Groups

Citation:

Henshaw, Alexis Leanna. 2016. “Why Women Rebel: Greed, Grievance, and Women in Armed Rebel Groups.” Journal of Global Security Studies 1 (3): 204–19.

Author: Alexis Leanna Henshaw

Abstract:

Many scholars have sought to understand what drives recruitment in armed rebel groups. While theories focused on grievance and selective incentives have been the subject of a robust body of scholarship, large-N work in this area tends to focus primarily on male recruits, and often utilizes measures that fail to account for the differing motivations of male and female rebels. Moreover, existing studies of the motives of female rebels have been regionally focused or concentrated on a single case—calling into question whether the findings are consistent across the global population of females in armed rebel groups. Drawing on a data set measuring women’s participation in seventy-two active rebel groups since 1990, this work seeks to test hypotheses drawn from prior research to explain why women rebel. These tests indicate that some trends noted by previous researchers have explanatory power. Particularly, economic and ethnic or religious grievances are motivating factors that drive women to take up arms. At the same time, though, these findings cast doubt on the salience of other motivating factors, such as selective incentives and a desire for political participation.

Keywords: insurgency, civil wars, gender

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups

Year: 2016

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