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Climate Change, Gender, and Rethinking Military Operations


Jody M. Prescott. 2014. “Climate Change, Gender, and Rethinking Military Operations.” Vermont Journal of Environmental Law 15 (4): 766–802.

Author: Jody M. Prescott


"The linkages between climate change, gender, and military operations are not necessarily immediately obvious. This article argues, however, that a particular type of unit, the Agricultural Development Team (“ADT”), developed and deployed to Afghanistan since 2007, has not only demonstrated the capability to address the gender-differentiated, climate change-related sources of insecurity at the tactical level, but that it could also serve as a model to effectively factor the gender-differentiated impacts of climate change across the broad spectrum of U.S. military operations.  To support this argument, this article will first explore the gender- and sex differentiated impacts of climate change upon populations, and why women, particularly in developing countries, tend to be more vulnerable to these impacts. Mindful of this operational reality for U.S. forces deployed to these areas, this article reviews current U.S. military doctrine setting out the means and methods by which the U.S. military interacts with local civilian populations in foreign nations. In particular, this article further assesses the significance of DoD’s failure to meaningfully address the environment and gender in military-civilian operations. The third section of this article explains the role of the ADT in the context of other types of military-civilian interface units that the U.S. military has developed and used in Afghanistan. In the fourth section, this article briefly describes various ADT projects to highlight ways in which wartime missions can mitigate climate change’s effects and enable vulnerable population cohorts such as women to adapt to its effects. These descriptions are based in part upon interviews with National Guard officers that recently led different ADTs in Afghanistan. In conclusion, more fully factoring the process of climate change and the importance of its gender-differentiated impacts into modern military operations would help create the conditions which could lead to sustainable social and economic stability in countries challenged by the effects of armed conflict and climate change. Such stability is crucial for the reestablishment and growth of the rule of law, a cornerstone of U.S. stability and reconstruction policy" (Prescott 2014, 768-769).


Topics: Agriculture, Armed Conflict, Combatants, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2014

Gender and Jihad: Women from the Caucasus in the Syrian Conflict


Kvakhadze, Aleksandre. 2020. “Gender and Jihad: Women from the Caucasus in the Syrian Conflict.” Perspectives on Terrorism 14 (2): 69-79.

Author: Aleksandre Kvakhadze


According to media reports, hundreds of women from the North Caucasian republics, Georgia and Azerbaijan have migrated to jihadi-controlled territories. This article has a threefold aim: to discuss the motivational features of female volunteers from the Caucasus region, to describe their functional role, and to explain their limited involvement in the hostilities. The findings indicate that the motivation for most women volunteers from the Caucasus has involved family relationships; further, rather than participating in combat, they have served in various supportive positions.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Conflict, Gender, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Religion, Terrorism Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East, Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Syria

Year: 2020

Girl Soldiering in Rebel Groups, 1989–2013: Introducing a New Dataset


Haer, Roos, and Tobias Böhmelt. 2018. “Girl Soldiering in Rebel Groups, 1989–2013: Introducing a New Dataset.” Journal of Peace Research 55 (3): 395–403. 

Authors: Roos Haer, Tobias Böhmelt


Most existing work assumes that child soldiers are under-aged males. Girl soldiers have largely been neglected so far, although they frequently have important roles in rebel groups. One reason for this shortcoming has been the lack of comprehensive and systematic data on female child soldiers over a larger time period. To address this gap, the following article introduces the Girl Child Soldier Dataset (G-CSDS), which provides – based on academic, IGO, NGO, government, and media sources – information on the number of girl soldiers and their functions (supporters or combatants) in rebel groups between 1989 and 2013. The dataset can be easily combined with other data based on the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP), and we demonstrate its usefulness with descriptive statistics and a regression analysis that is informed by previous research on women’s participation in armed groups. Among other interesting findings, the corresponding results suggest that there are crucial differences between girl combatants and those active in more supportive roles. We conclude that the G-CSDS provides a central platform of easily accessible information that will be useful to scholars and practitioners working on civil conflict, human rights, armed groups, or demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration (DDR) programs.

Keywords: dataset, girl fighters, girl soldiers, rebel groups

Topics: Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups

Year: 2018

Women on the Frontline: Rebel Group Ideology and Women’s Participation in Violent Rebellion


Wood, Reed M., and Jakana L. Thomas. 2017. “Women on the Frontline: Rebel Group Ideology and Women’s Participation in Violent Rebellion.” Journal of Peace Research 54 (1): 31–46.

Authors: Reed M. Wood, Jakana L. Thomas


Despite the frequent participation of women in armed groups, few studies have sought to explain the variation in their roles across different rebellions. Herein, we investigate this variation. We argue that the political ideology a group adopts plays a central role in determining the extent of women’s participation, particularly their deployment in combat roles. Specifically, we link variations in women’s roles in armed groups to differences in beliefs about gender hierarchies and gender-based divisions of labor inherent in the specific ideologies the groups adopt. We evaluate hypotheses drawn from these arguments using a novel cross-sectional dataset on female combatants in a global sample of rebel organizations active between 1979 and 2009. We find that the presence of a Marxist-oriented ‘leftist’ ideology increases the prevalence of female fighters while Islamist ideologies exert the opposite effect. However, we find little evidence that nationalism exerts an independent influence on women’s combat roles. We also note a general inverse relationship between group religiosity and the prevalence of female fighters. Our analysis demonstrates that political ideology plays a central role in determining whether and to what extent resistance movements incorporate female fighters into their armed wings.

Keywords: female combatants, rebel ideology, rebellion

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Rights, Religion

Year: 2017

Depicting Victims, Heroines, and Pawns in the Syrian Uprising


Szanto, Edith. 2016. “Depicting Victims, Heroines, and Pawns in the Syrian Uprising.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 12 (3): 306–22.

Author: Edith Szanto


During the onslaught of the Islamic caliphate on Kobanî, Syria, media outlets across the globe broadcast pictures of brave and often unveiled Kurdish women fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a quintessentially male force of destruction. The images of women fighting Islamist male aggressors aroused outrage, admiration, and pity among observers. But had all Kurdish fighters been male or had women fought for ISIS, viewers might have reacted differently. To examine some of the most widely disseminated gendered pictures and videos of the Syrian uprising in the media, this article draws on Mohja Kahf’s three categories, which typify how Muslim women, Arab women, or both are perceived by the Anglophone reading and viewing public: the first is victims; the second, escapees; and the third, pawns of patriarchy and male power. While this typology helps in examining gendered images of the Syrian uprising, it also obscures the socioeconomic realities on the ground.

Keywords: female fighters, media, Syrian uprising

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2016

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


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


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

Rethinking Rape: The Role of Women in Wartime Violence


Loken, Meredith. 2017. “Rethinking Rape: The Role of Women in Wartime Violence.” Security Studies 26 (1): 60–92.

Author: Meredith Loken


There is widespread variation in scope, scale, and forms of rape across and within conflicts. One explanation focuses on the integration of women in armed groups. Scholars and international organizations posit that the inclusion of women in armed groups discourages wartime rape. They advocate women’s increased participation to combat rape and other forms of civilian violence. Using an original dataset of women’s involvement as combatants in civil wars from 1980 to 2009, I argue that the participation of female fighters has no significant impact in constraining an armed group’s propensity to rape. Female combatants do not lessen rape because organizational factors, primarily culture, drive violence in armed factions and encourage conformity irrespective of individual characteristics. Advocating further militarization of women in an attempt to reduce conflict-related rape may be an ineffective policy prescription.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender-Based Violence, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Sexual Violence, Rape, Violence

Year: 2017

'Today, I Want to Speak Out the Truth': Victim Agency, Responsibility, and Transitional Justice


Baines, Erin K. 2015. “‘Today, I Want to Speak Out the Truth’: Victim Agency, Responsibility, and Transitional Justice.” International Political Sociology 9 (4): 316–32.

Author: Erin K. Baines


In this article, I am concerned with the political agency available to victims of wartime violence, and the subsequent insights it generates for thinking about complicity and responsibility. The article first considers the problematic ways in which victims are cast in the discipline of transitional justice, drawing on interdisciplinary studies of gender, agency, and wartime violence. I conceptualize the political as relational and situated within a web of human relationships that make life meaningful. Political agency includes acts, gestures, and words that negotiate the value of human life within various relationships. To illustrate, I turn to the life story of Sara, a young woman who grew up in the context of prolonged conflict in northern Uganda. I conclude with thinking about how Sara’s acts of political agency move us beyond static categories of victims in transitional justice, and conceive of responsibility as diffuse and socially held.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice, Transitional Justice, TRCs, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2015

The Voices of Girl Child Soldiers Colombia


Keairns, Yvonne E. 2003. The Voices of Girl Child Soldiers Colombia. New York: Quaker United Nations Office; Geneva: Quaker United Nations Office.

Author: Yvonne E. Keairns



"This report on the voices of girl child soldiers in Colombia is part of a larger study that carried out in-depth interviews with 23 girl soldiers from four different conflict areas around the world. The voices of these girls provide important insights into becoming a child soldier, the experience of being a child soldier and their view of the future. Among the key conclusions were the messages that:

• Becoming a child soldier is very dependent on a combination of the local environment and the personal circumstances surrounding the girl’s life.

• Living in poverty was important in girls joining a movement or being abducted.

• The girls are not searching for ways to retaliate and bring harm to those who had used and misused them. They were looking for ways to make a contribution, to do something meaningful and productive with their life and to make up for the harm they have delivered upon others" (Keairns 2003, 1).


Table of Contents:


i Acknowledgments


1 Summary


2 Introduction


2 Why listen to the voices of the girl soldier?


3 Methodology


5 Analysis of the Data


6 What Were the Important Themes


6 The Voices of Girl Soldiers from Colombia


15 Colombia Distinctives


16 What are Key Risk Factors in the Choice to Become a Child Soldier?


17 Lessons Learned from the Girl Soldiers on the Interview Process


19 References




21 I. Affirmation of Informed Consent

for Interviewee


22 II. Ethical Guidelines for Interviewers


23 III. Interviewer Actions and Responsibilities


25 IV. APA Code of Ethics


26 V. Team Leader Actions and Responsibilities


27 VI. Interviewer Training / Dialogue Agenda


29 VII. Role Play


30 VIII. The Voices of Girl Soldiers from Colombia

Topics: Age, Youth, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, Gender, Girls Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2003

Informe Especial del Instituto Kroc y el acompañamiento internacional, ONU Mujeres, FDIM y Suecia, al seguimiento del enfoque de género en la implementación del Acuerdo Final


KROC Institute for International Peace Studies. 2018. Informe Especial del Instituto Kroc y el acompañamiento internacional, ONU Mujeres, FDIM y Suecia, al seguimiento del enfoque de género en la implementación del Acuerdo Final. Bogotá: KROC Institute.

Author: KROC Institute for International Peace Studies


Este informe presenta un análisis del proceso de implementación del enfoque de género transversal al Acuerdo Final para la Terminación del Conflicto y la Construcción de una Paz Estable y Duradera entre diciembre 2016 y junio de 2018. La Embajada de Suecia, la Federación Democrática Internacional de Mujeres (FDIM) y la Entidad de las Naciones Unidas para la Igualdad de Género y el Empoderamiento de las Mujeres (ONU Mujeres), junto a la Iniciativa Barómetro del Instituto Kroc de Estudios Internacionales de Paz de la Universidad de Notre Dame presentan este informe de avances y desafíos en la implementación del enfoque de género, con base en la información recopilada en el proceso de seguimiento que cada una de estas organizaciones lleva a cabo.
Como apoyo técnico al Componente Internacional de Verificación (CIV), el Instituto Kroc desarrolló una matriz con la cual hace seguimiento a la implementación del Acuerdo Final. El Instituto identificó en el texto de Acuerdo, 578 disposiciones (acciones concretas, observables y medibles), de las cuales 130 tienen un enfoque de género. Estas acciones comprometen a las partes involucradas (Gobierno y FARC) a poner en marcha acciones afirmativas específicas para asegurar el liderazgo y participación de las mujeres y la población LGBTI, en programas e instituciones relacionadas con la implementación del Acuerdo Final. Por su parte, ONU Mujeres identificó 100 medidas con enfoque de género en el Acuerdo que incluyen medidas para el desarrollo normativo. Así mismo, ONU Mujeres hace seguimiento al desarrollo de política pública en materia de implementación con el propósito de identificar alertas, brechas y recomendaciones. La FDIM, ha concentrado sus esfuerzos en los territorios, trabajando con organizaciones de mujeres y en los Espacios Territoriales de Capacitación y Reincorporación (ETCR). En este proceso, FDIM ha recogido las demandas, necesidades básicas e intereses estratégicos de las mujeres en proceso de reincorporación social, política y económica, verificando el nivel de avance en el cumplimiento del Acuerdo Final en esta materia. Por último, la Embajada de Suecia ha venido apoyando la implementación del Acuerdo de Paz a través de apoyo económico y político a proyectos relacionados con la reincorporación, justicia transicional, derechos de las víctimas y desarrollo rural, siempre con un enfoque especial en la realización de los derechos de las mujeres y en una mayor igualdad de género.
El análisis de las 130 disposiciones con enfoque de género identificadas por el Instituto Kroc revela que, a 30 de junio de 2018, el 51%, de los compromisos con enfoque de género no se habían iniciado; el 38% estaban mínimamente implementados; el 7% habían alcanzado un nivel intermedio de implementación; y el 4% de los compromisos (cinco disposiciones) se habían implementado completamente. El contraste con el ritmo de implementación de la totalidad de las disposiciones (578), evidencia diferencias importantes en los niveles de implementación del enfoque de género frente a los niveles implementación general del
Acuerdo. Se observa una brecha significativa entre los compromisos con un enfoque de género que no han iniciado implementación (51%) y la proporción del total de compromisos en el Acuerdo que no han iniciado implementación (37%). Esto representa una brecha de implementación de 14 puntos porcentuales.
El presente informe se centra en identificar avances y desafíos en el proceso de implementación de estos compromisos en general, y en particular, en temas específicos identificados en las mesas técnicas con
diversos actores, que consideramos son de suma importancia para la
calidad de la paz y para evitar eventuales cascadas negativas en el proceso
de implementación. Dichos temas son:
1. Implementación Reforma Rural Integral y Solución al Problema de las Drogas Ilícitas.
2. Implementación de las medidas de participación de las mujeres en la implementación del Acuerdo y en la construcción de paz.
3. Implementación de garantías de seguridad y protección con enfoque de género
4. Implementación de las medidas para la reincorporación de excombatientes.
El informe presenta recomendaciones en torno a temas específicos como la inclusión y definición de medidas diferenciales en los proyectos de ley que aún falta por presentar, tramitar e implementar, y el fortalecimiento institucional que permita obtener información desagregada por sexo, etnia y orientación sexual que informen la creación e implementación de políticas públicas con enfoque de género.

Topics: Combatants, DDR, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Peace and Security, Peace Processes, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2018


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