Women’s Participation in the Military and Security Sphere: Comparing the Public and Private Sectors


Basu, Soumita, and Maya Eichler. 2011. "Women’s Participation in the Military and Security Sphere: Comparing the Public and Private Sectors." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association Annual Conference ‘Global Governance: Political Authority in Transition’, Montreal, March 16-19.

Authors: Soumita Basu, Maya Eichler


This paper investigates women’s participation in the military sphere against the backdrop of the increasing privatization of military security. The feminist International Relations (IR) literature has critically examined women’s integration into national armed forces and more recently explored women’s role in paramilitary groups. The issue of women’s participation in private military and security companies (PMSCs) has gained less scholarly attention, but is important considering the significant role of the private sector in security provision and warfare today. The paper will place the question of women’s participation in PMSCs in the context of debates on gender and militarization. In particular, we will address the following questions: (1) How does the use of private military force reproduce militarized gender roles and violence? (2) What are the specific concerns that need to be addressed in relation to women’s participation in PMSCs (e.g. issues of equal status, sexual harassment)? (3) How does the emerging regulatory framework for the private military sector address gender concerns, and what are its limitations?

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security, Militaries, Militarization, Paramilitaries, Violence

Year: 2011

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