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Living Maoist Gender Ideology: Experiences of Women Ex-Combatants in Nepal


K.C., Luna, and Gemma Van Der Haar. 2019. “Living Maoist Gender Ideology: Experiences of Women Ex-Combatants in Nepal.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 21 (3): 434–53.

Authors: Luna K.C., Gemma Van Der Haar


Studies of women’s participation in civil conflict as armed combatants have attributed diverse motivations to such participation and examined the implications of participation for women’s empowerment in the aftermath. The authors contribute to these studies through an in-depth analysis of female combatants’ struggles for equality and empowerment during and after Nepal’s decade-long Maoist conflict. Scholars have argued that the emphasis of Maoist ideology in Nepal on the emancipation of women and on ending gender discrimination attracted a large number of women to the cause. Based on narratives of Maoist female ex-combatants, the authors investigate women’s engagement with Maoist ideology during and after the conflict. These narratives reveal that despite discourses of gender equality in Nepal’s Maoist struggle, promises around gender equality remain unkept in the period after the war. A reintegration program has offered women ex-combatants few options and has pushed women back into traditional gender roles. Struggles continue in this terrain. Incorporating intersectionality, the paper highlights how women ex-combatants’ gender identities intersect with caste and other social locations to produce diverse challenges for their lives.

Keywords: Maoist armed conflict, gender ideology, empowerment, women ex-combatants, post-conflict Nepal

Topics: Caste, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Intersectionality, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2019

The Jihad Feminist Dynamics of Terrorism and Subordination of Women in the ISIS


Makanda, Joseph. 2019. "The Jihad Feminist Dynamics of Terrorism and Subordination of Women in the ISIS." Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies 8 (2): 135-59. 

Author: Joseph Makanda


The increasing embeddedness of the jihad feminist within the Islamic State’s (ISIS) operations is eliciting works on the role of women in terrorism. However, there is yet to be a more constructive analysis that adequately accounts for the luring of Muslim women into the ISIS as a justification of the patriarchal beliefs and oppressive social systems. This paper is among the first attempts to draw on the Jihad Feminism Theory (JFT) to develop a conceptual discourse that explains the causal relationship between jihad feminist fighters and promotion of patriarchal practices and beliefs within the ISIS. Far from standing against any forms of Western feminization- as espoused by the ISIS, the paper argues that jihad feminism has further subverted Muslim women to sedentary roles within the ISIS as a way of sustaining the organisations’ operations and existence.
La creciente integración de la yihad feminista en las operaciones del Estado Islámico de Irak y Siria (ISIS) está provocando investigaciones sobre el papel de la mujer en el terrorismo. Sin embargo, aún no se ha realizado un análisis más constructivo que responda adecuadamente a la interfaz entre el feminismo yihadista y la subyugación femenina dentro de las operaciones del ISIS. Este documento es uno de los primeros intentos de utilizar la Teoría del feminismo yihad (JFT) para desarrollar un discurso conceptual que explique la relación entre las luchadoras feministas yihad y la promoción de prácticas y creencias patriarcales dentro del grupo ISIS. Lejos de oponerse a cualquier forma de feminización occidental, como defienden las feministas yihad, el artículo sostiene que el feminismo yihad ha subvertido aún más a las mujeres musulmanas a roles sedentarios dentro del ISIS como una forma de sostener las operaciones y la existencia de las organizaciones. Este es un documento cualitativo que se basa en un análisis de escritorio de fuentes secundarias de datos. 

Keywords: feminism, Islam, ISIS, Jihad feminism, terrorism, feminsmo, Feminismo Jihad, terrorismo

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East

Year: 2019

Everyday Realities of Reintegration: Experiences of Maoist ‘Verified’ Women Ex-Combatants in the Aftermath of War in Nepal


K.C., Luna. 2019. “Everyday Realities of Reintegration: Experiences of Maoist ‘Verified’ Women Ex-Combatants in the Aftermath of War in Nepal.” Conflict, Security & Development 19 (5): 453–74.

Author: Luna K.C.


Global studies of women’s experiences in the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process have explored its implications for women in the post-war period. Scholars have also already pointed out that ex-combatants in Nepal are facing difficulties in the reintegration period. This paper examines in particular the consequences of the DDR process for so-called Maoist ‘verified’ women ex-combatants, those who were formally acknowledged as former Maoist combatants and have experienced the entire DDR process. The paper asks how they experienced this process and how it shaped their post-conflict options. The paper first problematises the idea of a ‘return to normalcy’ and, second, shows how female ex-combatants suffered multiple forms of marginalisation as they sought to give new shape to their lives. I argue that this is in part due to the lack of a gender-inclusive framework in the DDR policy in Nepal and the failure to take into account the voices of women ex-combatants.

Keywords: verified women ex-combatant, disarmament, demobilisation and integration, Maoist armed conflict, gender equality, post-conflict settings, Nepal

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2019

Withdrawing from Politics? Gender, Agency and Women Ex-Fighters in Nepal


Ketola, Hanna. 2020. “Withdrawing from Politics? Gender, Agency and Women Ex-Fighters in Nepal.” Security Dialogue. doi: 10.1177:0967010620906322.

Author: Hanna Ketola


Conceptualizations of post-conflict agency have been widely debated in feminist security studies and critical international relations studies. This article distinguishes between three feminist approaches to post-conflict agency: narrative of return, representations of agency and local agency. It argues that all these approaches in distinct ways emphasize a modality of agency as resistance. To offer a more encompassing account of post-conflict agency the article engages Saba Mahmood’s (2012) critique of the modality of agency in feminist theory and her decoupling of agency from resistance. The article explores experiences of women who fought in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Nepal. It focuses on ‘withdrawing from politics’, a dynamic whereby women ex-fighters move away from party activities and the public sphere, and rearticulates this withdrawing as a location of political agency. The article argues that being an ‘ex-PLA’ emerges as a form of subjectivity that is crafted through experiencing war and encountering peacebuilding, enabling a production of heterogeneous modalities of agency in the post-conflict context. By examining these modalities, the article challenges us to rethink post-conflict agency beyond the capacity to subvert regulatory gender norms and/or discourses of liberal peace.

Keywords: agency, conflict, gender, peacebuilding

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Post-Conflict, Peacebuilding, Political Participation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2020

"Without Women, the War Could Never Have Happened": Representations of Women’s Military Contributions in Non-State Armed Groups


Gilmartin, Niall. 2017. “‘Without Women, the War Could Never Have Happened’: Representations of Women’s Military Contributions in Non-State Armed Groups.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 19 (4): 456–70.

Author: Niall Gilmartin


Feminist international relations theory argues that male consolidation of power in the aftermath of armed conflict often occurs as men gain the status of heroes in the post-war appraisals. Explorations of republican commemoration in the North of Ireland have uncovered the dominance of the male protagonist with a notable relative absence of militant republican women. Militarized masculine narratives and patriarchal understandings of what is deemed a combatant role, and therefore deemed worthy of commemorating, consistently fail to value or recognize women’s multiple and vital wartime contributions. This article argues that conventional definitions of military contributions and combatant roles are imprecise, highly gendered and ultimately function as a mechanism to denigrate and exclude women’s wartime labor. Based on in-depth interviews with former combatants, the article critically explores the ways in which republican women themselves conceptualize their contributions to armed struggle. Emerging from this is a theoretically rich narrative of women’s multiple and diverse military roles which firmly challenge the limited definition of “a person with a weapon.” It is suggested that by paying careful attention to the lives of combatant women, feminist scholars can use their experiences, narratives and meanings to challenge existing frameworks and discourses, and redefine combatant roles and wartime contributions.

Keywords: female combatants, Conflict Transition, combatant roles, commemoration, Republican women

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Post-Conflict Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2017

The Masculine Logic of DDR and SSR in the Rwanda Defence Force


Duriesmith, David, and Georgina Holmes. 2019. “The Masculine Logic of DDR and SSR in the Rwanda Defence Force.” Security Dialogue 50 (4): 361–79.

Authors: David Duriesmith, Georgina Holmes


Since the 1994 genocide and civil war, the Rwandan government has implemented an externally funded disarmament, demobilization and reintegration/security sector reform (DDR/SSR) programme culminating in the consolidation of armed groups into a new, professionalized Rwanda Defence Force. Feminists argue that DDR/SSR initiatives that exclude combatant women and girls or ignore gendered security needs fail to transform the political conditions that led to conflict. Less attention has been paid to how gendered relations of power play out through gender-sensitive DDR and SSR initiatives that seek to integrate women and transform hyper-masculine militarized masculinities. This article investigates how Rwanda’s DDR/SSR programme is governed by an oppressive masculine logic. Drawing on critical studies on men and masculinities and feminist work on peacebuilding, myths and the politics of belonging, it argues that Rwanda’s locally owned DDR/SSR programme places the military and militarization at the centre of the country’s nation-building programme. Through various ‘boundary-construction’ practices, the Rwandan government attempts to stabilize the post-1994 gender order and entrench the hegemony of a new militarized masculinity in Rwandan society. The case study draws on field research conducted in 2014 and 2015 and a discourse analysis of historical accounts, policy documents and training materials of the Rwanda Defence Force.

Keywords: DDR, gender, militarization, peacebuilding, Rwanda, SSR

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Genocide, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Security Sector Reform Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2019

Gender Dimensions of DDR – beyond Victimization and Dehumanization: Tracking the Thematic


Hauge, Wenche Iren. 2020. “Gender Dimensions of DDR – beyond Victimization and Dehumanization: Tracking the Thematic." International Feminist Journal of Politics 22 (2): 206-26.

Author: Wenche Iren Hauge


In much of the early literature on gender dimensions of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) processes – from the 1980s and 1990s – the focus was on women as victims in conflict and DDR processes. This article reviews the literature on gender dimensions of DDR processes, exploring its many different topics – such as discussions of the definition of combatants, the political economy of DDR processes, group identity, cultural contexts, and masculinity – while focusing the discussion on the representation of female and male combatants of armed groups along the victim–actor axis. It furthermore analyzes the consequences of these representations for the way in which DDR processes are structured, and for who is allowed to participate in them. Finally, the article questions the push toward normalization in DDR processes and the neglect of progressive changes in gender relations within armed groups during war.

Keywords: demobilization, reintegration, gender, actors, victims, normalization

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, DDR, Conflict, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Political Economies

Year: 2020

'What Is Wrong with Men?’: Revisiting Violence against Women in Conflict and Peacebuilding


Pankhurst, Donna. 2016. “‘What Is Wrong with Men?’: Revisiting Violence against Women in Conflict and Peacebuilding.” Peacebuilding 4 (2): 180–93.

Author: Donna Pankhurst


Much has been written about the high rates of rape and other forms of violence against ‘enemy’ women in wartime and sustained violence against women in post-war contexts. Research on violence against women, recognised as a problem for peace and development and even a threat to international security, has begun to identify and explain contrasts between different locations. The explanations focus on men, their behaviour and ‘masculinities’, some of which, and even some military codes, may even proscribe such violence. By contrast, research on the mental health of male former combatants, and possibly other male survivors of war trauma, suggests that there is a strong risk of them perpetrating violence specifically against women, even in cases where the highest standard of veteran care is expected, but without much explanation. This article considers what potential there is in this topic for lessons in peacebuilding policy and identifies areas for future research.

Keywords: sexual violence, gender, war, peacebuilding, masculinity, men, ex-combatants, veterans, soldiers

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Health, Mental Health, Peacebuilding, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women

Year: 2016

Socio-Cultural Barriers of Female Ex-Combatants' Social Re-Integration in Sri Lanka


Takamatsu, Kana. 2020. "Socio-Cultural Barriers of Female Ex-Combatants' Social Re-Integration in Sri Lanka." In Recent Social, Environmental, and Cultural Issues in East Asian Societies, edited by Mika Markus Merviö, 213-23. Hershey: IGI Global. 

Author: Kana Takamatsu


This chapter identifies the post-conflict social barriers to the social reintegration of female ex-combatants. This study refers to the case of Sri Lanka concerning the conflict between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that ended in 2009. During the conflict, the LTTE actively recruited female combatants, and women consisted of a significant number of the entire LTTE combatants. However, after the end of the conflict and even today, many of them are rejected by the community. First of all, the LTTE was fighting for Tamil's independence, but Tamil's community has expressed mixed opinions toward the LTTE. Second, female ex-combatants were then and are now a divergence from the gender norms of their society. Third, from their roles in the conflict, female ex-combatants experienced an indelible change in their ideas through the conflict and observed themselves as capable of being independent women. Consequently, they felt a high level of resistance to returning to traditional gender roles.



Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Gender Roles, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2020

The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Conflict


Ní Aoláin, Fionnuala, Naomi Cahn, Dina Francesca Haynes, and Nahla Valji, eds. 2018. The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Conflict. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Authors: Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, ed., Naomi Cahn, ed., Dina Francesca Haynes, ed., Nahla Valji, ed.


The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Conflict brings together leading interdisciplinary scholars, policymakers, and practitioners to address a complex range of challenges, contexts, geographies, and issues that arise for women and men in the context of armed conflict. The Handbook addresses war and peace, humanitarian intervention, countering violence and extremism, the United Nations Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, sexual violence, criminal accountability, autonomous weapons, peacekeeping, refugee and internally displaced person (IDP) status, the political economy of war, the economics of conflict, as well as health and economic security. It begins with theoretical approaches to gender and conflict, drawing on the areas of international, peace and conflict, feminist, and masculinities studies. The Handbook explores how women and men’s pre-war societal, economic, and legal status relates to their conflict experiences, affecting the ways in which they are treated in the post-conflict transitional phase. In addition to examining these conflict and post-conflict experiences, the Handbook addresses the differing roles of multiple national and international actors, as well as the UN led Women, Peace, and Security Agenda. Contributions survey the regulatory framework and gendered dimensions of international humanitarian and international human rights law in situations of conflict and occupation as well as addressing, and critiquing, the gendered nature and content of international criminal law. The Handbook also includes grounded country case studies exploring different gendered experiences of conflict in various regions. As a whole, this Handbook seeks to critically examine the contemporary gender-based challenges that emerge in conflict and post-conflicts contexts.

Keywords: gender, conflict, post-conflict, sexual violence, feminism, United Nations, women, Peace and Security agenda, International actors, peace, war


Table of Contents:

1. Introduction: Mapping the Terrain: Gender and Conflict in Contemporary Perspective
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin

2. Theories of War
Laura Sjoberg

3. From Women and War to Gender and Conflict?: Feminist Trajectories
Dubravka Žarkov

4. The Silences in the Rules that Regulate Women during Times of Armed Conflict
Judith Gardam

5. How should we Explain the Recurrence of Violence Conflict, add What Might Gender Have to do with it?
Judy El-Bushra

6. The Gendered Nexus between Conflict and Citizenship in Historical Perspective
Jo Butterfield and Elizabeth Heineman

7. Violence Conflict and Changes in Gender Economic Roles: Implications for Post-Conflict Recovery
Patricia Justino

8. Victims Who are Men
Chris Dolan

9. Women, Peace, and Security: A Critical Analysis of the Security Council's Vision
Dianne Otto

10. Participation and Protection: Security Council Dynamics, Bureaucratic Politics, and the Evolution of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda
Anne Marie Goetz and Rob Jenkins

11. A Genealogy of the Centrality of Sexual Violence to Gender and Conflict
Karen Engle

12. 1235 + 17 = ?: Filling in the Blanks of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda
Kimberly Theidon

13. Complementary and Convergence?: Women, Peace, and Security and Counterterrorism
Naureen Chowdhury Fink and Alison Davidian

14. Unlocking the Potential of CEDAW as an Important Accountability Tool for the Women, Peace and Security Agenda
Pramilla Patten

15. The Promise and Limits of Indicators on Women, Peace and Security
Pablo Castillo Díaz and Hanny Cueva Beteta

16. Humanitarian Intervention and Gender Dynamics
Gina Heathcote

17. (Re)Considering Gender Jurisprudence
Patricia Viseur Sellers

18. Complementarity as a Catalyst for Gender Justice in National Prosecutions
Amrita Kapur

19. Forced Marriageduring Conflict and Mass Atrocity
Valerie Oosterveld

20. Advancing Justice and Making Amenda Through Reparations: Legal and Operational Considerations
Kristin Kalla

21. Colonialism
Amina Mama

22. Conflict, Displacement, and Refugees
Lucy Hovil

23. Gender and Forms of Conflict: The Moral Hazards of Dating the Security Council
Vasuki Nesiah

24. The Martial Rape of Girls and Women in Antiquity and Modernity
Kathy L. Gaca

25. "Mind the Gap": Measuring and Understanding Gendered Conflict Experiences
Amelia Hoover Green

26. Intersectionality: Working in Conflict
Eilish Rooney

27. Agency and Gender Norms in War Economies
Patti Patesch

28. Risk and Resilience: The Physical and Mental Health of Female Civilians during War
Lauren C. Ng and Theresa S. Betancourt

29. The Gender Implications of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Conflict Situations
Barbara A. Frey

30. Unmanned Weapons: Looking for the Gender Dimensions
Christof Heyns and Tess Borden

31. Gender and Peacekeeping
Sabrina Karim and Marsha Henry

32. Peacekeeping, Human Trafficking, and Sexual Abuse and Exploitation
Martina E. Vandenberg

33. Women, Peace Negotiations, and Peace Agreements: Opportunities and Challenges
Christine Bell

34. Women's Organizations and Peace Initiatives
Aili Mari Tripp

35. Gender and Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration: Reviewing and Advancing the Field
Dyan Mazurana, Roxanne Krystalli, and Anton Baaré

36. Decolonial Feminism, Gender, and Transitional Justice in Latin America
Pascha Bueno-Hansen

37. Gender and Governance in Post-Conflict and Democratizing Settings
Lisa Kindervater and Sheila Meintjes

38. Who Defines the Red Lines?: The Prospects for Safeguarding Women's Rights and Securing Their Future in Post-Transition Afghanistan
Sari Kouvo and Corey Levine

39. "That's Not My Daughter": The Paradoxes of Documenting Jihadist Mass Rape in 1990s Algeria and Beyond
Karima Bennoune

40. Consequences of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence on Post-Conflict Society: Case Study of Reparations in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Lejla Hadzimesic

41. Colombia: Gender and Land Restitution
Donny Meertens

42. Knowing Masculinities in Armed Conflict?: Reflections from Research in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Maria Eriksson Baaz and Maria Stern

43. Northern Ireland: The Significance of a Bottom-Up Women's Movement in a Politically Contested Society
Monica McWilliams and Avila Kilmurray

44. Gendered Suffering and the Eviction of the Native: The Politics of Birth in Occupied East Jerusalem
Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

45. Rwanda: Women's Political Participation in Post-Conflict State-Building
Doris Buss and Jerusa Ali

46. Sri Lanka: The Impact of Militarization on Women
Ambika Satkunanathan

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Refugees, Economies, War Economies, Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Health, Mental Health, Humanitarian Assistance, Justice, Livelihoods, Peace and Security, Post-Conflict, Peacebuilding, Peacekeeping, Peace Processes, Terrorism, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Trafficking, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, Violence

Year: 2018


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