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Armed Conflict

Assessing the Significance of Women in Combat Roles

Citation:

Trisko Darden, Jessica. 2015. "Assessing the Significance of Women in Combat Roles." International Journal: Canada’s Journal Of Global Policy Analysis 70 (3): 454-462. 

Author: Jessica Trisko Darden

Abstract:

What should we know about the roles of women in armed conflicts? I review the existing literature on women’s roles in regular and irregular conflicts to identify gaps in our understanding of the significance of female combatants. I draw on contemporary and historical cases of women’s combat participation across world regions and, in so doing, I challenge existing assumptions about the limits of women’s participation in armed conflict. Examining women as a group and expecting conflict to affect this group in predictable and easily identifiable ways only reinforces existing assumptions about women and war. To understand the range of motivations underlying women’s decisions to fight or to not fight, we should give greater attention to opportunity structures and other social conditions rather than simply assuming that women have different incentives than men.

Keywords: gender, combat, conflict, militaries, security, war, women

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Security

Year: 2015

Prosecuting Gender-Based Persecution: the Islamic State at the ICC

Citation:

Chertoff, Emily. 2017. “Prosecuting Gender-Based Persecution: the Islamic State at the ICC." Yale Law Journal 126 (4): 1050-117.

Author: Emily Chertoff

Abstract:

Reports suggest that Islamic State, the terrorist "caliphate," has enslaved and brutalized thousands of women from the Yazidi ethnic minority of Syria and Northern Iraq. International criminal law has a name for what Islamic State has done to these women: gender-based persecution. This crime, which appears in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), has only been charged once, and unsuccessfully, in the Court's two decades of existence. The case of the Yazidi women presents a promising opportunity to charge it again--and, potentially, to shift the lately unpromising trajectory of the Court, which has been weakened in recent months by a wave of defections by former member states. This Note uses heretofore unexamined jurisprudence of the ICC's Pre-Trial Chamber to elaborate--element by element--how the Prosecutor of the Court could charge gender-based persecution against members of Islamic State. I argue that the prosecution of Islamic State would not just vindicate the rights of Yazidi survivors of Islamic State violence. It would help to consolidate an international norm against gender-based persecution in armed conflict--a norm that, until now, international law has only incompletely realized. This Note argues that only by prosecuting the crime of gender-based persecution can international criminal law cognize violence, like the attacks on Yazidi women, that is motivated not just by race, ethnicity, or gender, but by the victims' intersecting gender and ethnic or racial identities. I conclude by reflecting on the role that a series of prosecutions against perpetrators of gender-based persecution might have in restoring the legitimacy of the ailing ICC.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnicity, Women, Gender-Based Violence, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Race, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, Terrorism, Violence Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq, Syria

Year: 2017

Anchors, Habitus, and Practices Besieged by War: Women and Gender in the Blockade of Leningrad

Citation:

Hass, Jeffrey K. 2017. “Anchors, Habitus, and Practices Besieged by War: Women and Gender in the Blockade of Leningrad.” Sociological Forum32(2): 253-76.

Author: Jeffrey K. Hass

Abstract:

As war challenges survival and social relations, how do actors alter and adapt dispositions and practices? To explore this question, I investigate women's perceptions of normal relations, practices, status, and gendered self in an intense situation of wartime survival, the Blockade of Leningrad (1941–1944), an 872-day ordeal that demographically feminized the city. Using Blockade diaries for data on everyday life, perceptions, and practices, I show how women's gendered skills and habits of breadseeking and caregiving (finding scarce resources and providing aid) were key to survival and helped elevate their sense of status. Yet this did not entice rethinking “gender.” To explore status elevation and gender entrenchment, I build on Bourdieu's theory of habitus and fields to develop anchors: field entities with valence around which actors orient identities and practices. Anchors provide support for preexisting habitus and practices, and filter perceptions from new positions vis-à-vis fields and concrete relations. Essentialist identities and practices were reinforced through two processes involving anchors. New status was linked to “women's work” that aided survival of anchors (close others, but also factories and the city), reinforcing acceptance of gender positions. Women perceived that challenging gender relations and statuses could risk well-being of anchors, reconstructing gender essentialism.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations Regions: Asia, Europe Countries: Soviet Union (former)

Year: 2017

Death Does Not Become Her: An Examination of the Public Construction of Female American Soldiers as Liminal Figures

Citation:

Millar, Katharine M. 2015. "Death Does Not Become Her: An Examination of the Public Construction of Female American Soldiers as Liminal Figure." Review of International Studies 41 (04): 757-79. doi: 10.1017/s0260210514000424.

Author: Katharine M. Millar

Abstract:

Since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, over 150 female American military personnel have been killed, over 70 following hostile fire. Given Western society’s long-standing practice of reserving the conduct of collective violence to men, these very public deaths are difficult to encompass within the normative and ideological structures of the contemporary American political system. This study examines the ways in which the public duty to commemorate the heroism of soldiers – and the private desire to accurately remember daughters and wives – poses a significant challenge to coherent discursive representation. In doing so, the study employs hermeneutical interpretation to analyse public representations of female soldiers and their relation to death in US popular culture. These representations are examined via Judith Butler’s concept of grievability – the possibility of receiving recognition as a worthy life within the existing social imaginary. It is argued that female soldiers are grievable as both ‘good soldiers’ and ‘good women’, but not as ‘good female soldiers’. The unified subject position of ‘good female soldier’ is liminal, and thus rendered socially and politically unintelligible. The article concludes with an analysis of the implications of this liminality for collective mourning and the possibility of closure after trauma.

 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism Regions: MENA, Americas, North America, Asia, Middle East, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, United States of America

Year: 2015

The "Double-Battle": Women Combatants and Their Embodied Experiences in War Zone

Citation:

Harel-Shalev, Ayelet, and Shir Daphna-Tekoah. 2016. “The "Double-Battle": Women Combatants and Their Embodied Experiences in War Zones.” Critical Studies on Terrorism 9 (2): 312–33. doi:10.1080/17539153.2016.1178484.
 

Authors: Ayelet Harel-Shalev, Shir Daphna-Tekoah

Abstract:

This study contributes to the ongoing debate about women in combat by exploring women combatants’ experiences of war through interviews with women soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces who served as combatants or in combat-support roles in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The authors proffer that the bodily experiences of women combatants disturb conventional international relations and hegemonic masculine war metanarratives that either abstract or glorify combat. These otherwise silenced narratives reveal juxtapositions of feelings of competence and vulnerability and shed light on the women’s struggle for gender integration in the military. The authors conclude the article with a reflection on the challenges facing researchers investigating war and terrorism.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel, Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2016

The Political Economy of DDR in Liberia: A Gendered Critique

Citation:

Jennings, Kathleen M. 2009. “The Political Economy of DDR in Liberia: A Gendered Critique.” Conflict, Security & Development 9 (4): 475-94. 

Author: Kathleen M. Jennings

Abstract:

This paper examines the reintegration component of the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programme in Liberia from a critical gendered perspective. Building on previous arguments pertaining to the securitisation of reintegration in Liberia, the paper considers the highly gendered impetus and impact of both the reintegration project and the securitising act. I argue that Liberian DDR was devised and justified according to assumptions that are default male, thus causing the programme to overlook women except as passive victims of conflict, or as add-ons secondary to the ‘real’ purpose of reintegration. Accordingly, the programme both naturalised specific gendered binaries and favoured moves that would buttress and extend them, for example, by problematizing male unemployment and privileging male entry into the formal economy. The paper first explains the securitisation of reintegration in Liberia, before turning to a gendered critique focusing on the political symbolic and political economic impacts of said reintegration.

 

Topics: Armed Conflict, DDR, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2009

"Subjects of Change": Feminist Geopolitics and Gendered Truth-Telling in Guatemala

Citation:

Patterson-Markowitz, Rebecca, Elizabeth Oglesby, and Sallie Marston. 2012. “‘ Subjects of Change’: Feminist Geopolitics and Gendered Truth-Telling in Guatemala.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 13 (4): 82.

Authors: Rebecca Patterson-Markowitz, Elizabeth Oglesby, Sallie Marston

Abstract:

This paper explores the often-undervalued role of gender in transitional justice mechanisms and the importance of women's struggles and agency in that regard. We focus on the efforts of the women's movement in Guatemala to address questions of justice and healing for survivors of gendered violence during Guatemala's 36-year internal armed conflict. We discuss how the initial transitional justice measures of documenting gendered war crimes in the context of a genocide were subsequently taken up by the women's movement and how their endeavors to further expose sexual violence have resulted in notable interventions. Interviews with key organizational activists as well as testimonies given by victims of sexual violence during the conflict suggest that transitional justice mechanisms, extended by women's movements' efforts, are creating conditions for the emergence of new practices and spaces that support the fragile cultivation of new subjectivities. Sujetas de cambio (subjects of change) are premised not on victimhood but survivorhood. The emergence of these new subjectivities and new claims, including greater personal security and freedom from everyday violence, must be approached with caution, however, as they are not born automatically out of the deeply emotional struggles that play out around historical memory. Still, their emergence suggests new ways for women to cope not only with the sexual violence of the past but also to work against the normative violence that is part of their present.

Keywords: gendered violence, historical memory, transitional justice

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Genocide, Justice, Transitional Justice, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Guatemala

Year: 2012

Brothers, Fathers, Terrorists: Masculine Assemblages in Glenn Beck’s Rhetoric of US-Israel Unity Post-9/11

Citation:

Chevrette, Roberta, and Lisa C. Braverman. 2013. “Brothers, Fathers, Terrorists: Masculine Assemblages in Glenn Beck’s Rhetoric of US-Israel Unity Post-9/11.” Feminist Formations 25 (2): 81–106.

Authors: Roberta Chevrette, Lisa C. Braverman

Abstract:

Through rhetorical analysis of Glenn Beck's keynote at the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Summit in Washington, D.C., and his subsequent "Restoring Courage" rally in Israel, this article examines the construction of a gendered and militarized "state of emergency" in which Israel and the United States stand together as brothers against their enemies in the modern era. In this discursive and political formation, Israel is constructed as a site of perpetual persecution, while anxieties about US global dominance are (mis)placed within its borders. This constructed emergency generalizes the nuances of Palestinian and Israeli experiences, while homogenizing Palestinians into a gendered and racialized terrorist Other. Offering a theorization of masculine assemblages, the authors analyze how, in the post-9/11 security state, the unification of US-Israeli interests is articulated through multiple interlocking discourses of masculinity. Through careful deconstruction of the masculine assemblages that bind together this epistemological and geo-political formation, this analysis contributes to postcolonial and transnational feminist theorizing by exploring how men embody and construct the nation-state, how discourses of race, religion, and nation assemble together through the concept of masculinity, and how these assemblages provoke states of emergency and impetuses for action.

Keywords: Beck, Glenn, Evangelical Christian Right, foreign policy, Israel, masculine assemblage, terrorist

Topics: Armed Conflict, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Race, Religion, Terrorism Regions: Africa, MENA, Americas, North America, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel, United States of America

Year: 2013

No Longer a Bargain: Women, Masculinity, and the Egyptian Uprising

Citation:

Hafez, Sherine. 2012. “No Longer a Bargain: Women, Masculinity, and the Egyptian Uprising.” American Ethnologist 39 (1): 37–42.

Author: Sherine Hafez

Abstract:

Although, according to eyewitness accounts, women made up 20 to 50 percent of the protesters in Tahrir Square, the events immediately following the Egyptian uprising revealed that women would not be part of the political deliberations between various contending parties and the Supreme Military Council in charge of the country. In this essay, I take a close look at the sociocultural dynamics behind the inclusion–dis-inclusion of women in the political sphere to question how this contradiction has, in recent years, characterized the nature of gender relations in Arab countries like Egypt. Multilayered, rapidly changing, and challenged patriarchal power lies at the very core of the uprising in Egypt. What the events of this uprising have revealed is that notions of masculinity undermined by a repressive regime have observably shifted the terms of the patriarchal bargain.

Keywords: Egypt's uprising, gender relations in the Middle East, masculinity, patriarchy, patriarchal bargain, state patriarchy, women and revolution

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Asia, Middle East Countries: Egypt

Year: 2012

The (Little) Militia Man: Memory and Militarized Masculinity in Lebanon

Citation:

Haugbolle, Sune. 2012. “The (Little) Militia Man: Memory and Militarized Masculinity in Lebanon.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 8 (1): 115–39.

Author: Sune Haugbolle

Abstract:

This article discusses how militiamen who fought in the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990) have been represented in Lebanese cultural production and how these militiamen relate to public discourse on masculinity and culpability in the postwar period. Through an analysis of interviews with former militiamen from the Lebanese press, an autobiographical novel, and a play about the war, this paper examines the link between debates about memory and responsibility on one hand, and contentions over norms of masculine behavior on the other. The texts suggest that some Lebanese artists privilege a redemptive narrative, where former fighters are shown as regretful, even feminized, “little men” on par with other human victims of a senseless war. This narrative is meant to counter the widely held notion in Lebanon that militiamen bear a large part of the responsibility for the war. At the same time, this redemptive narrative seeks to sever the link between masculinity and sectarian cultures that, still today, celebrate violence committed during the civil war.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militias, Post-Conflict, Violence Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Lebanon

Year: 2012

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