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Female Combatants

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

Citation:

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

Abstract:

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

Citation:

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

Abstract:

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

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

Rethinking Rape: The Role of Women in Wartime Violence

Citation:

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

Author: Meredith Loken

Abstract:

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

The Voices of Girl Child Soldiers Colombia

Citation:

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

Annotation:

Summary:

"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 APPENDICES

 

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

Irish Women and Nationalism: Soldiers, New Women and Wicked Hags

Citation:

Ryan, Louise, and Margaret Ward. 2019. Irish Women and Nationalism: Soldiers, New Women and Wicked Hags. Newbridge: Irish Academic Press.

Authors: Louise Ryan, Margaret Ward

Annotation:

Summary:
Studies of Irish nationalism have been primarily historical in scope and overwhelmingly male in content. Too often, the ‘shadow of the gunman’ has dominated. Little recognition has been given to the part women have played, yet over the centuries they have undertaken a variety of roles – as combatants, prisoners, writers and politicians. In this important and influential collection the full range of women’s contribution to the Irish nationalist movement is explored by writers whose interests range from the historical and sociological to the literary and cultural. From the little known contribution of women to the earliest nationalist uprisings of the 1600s and 1700s, to their active participation in the republican campaigns of the twentieth century, different chapters consider the changing contexts of female militancy and the challenge this has posed to masculine images and structures.
 
Using a wide range of sources, including textual analysis, archives and documents, newspapers and autobiographies, interviews and action research, individual writers examine sensitive and highly complex debates around women’s role in situations of conflict.
 
Irish Women and Nationalism, first published in 2004 and now reissued with a new foreword by Marie Coleman, is a major contribution to wider feminist debates about the gendering of nationalism, raising questions about the extent to which women’s rights, demands and concerns can ever be fully accommodated within nationalist movements. (Summary from Irish Academic Press)
 
Table of Contents:
Preface
Marie Coleman
 
Foreward
Sinead McCoole
 
1. Introduction
Louise Ryan and Margaret Ward
 
2. Testimonies to History: Reassessing Women's Involvement in the 1641 Rising
Andrea Knox
 
3. Revolution in Ireland, Evolution in Women’s Rights: Irish Women in 1798 and 1848
Jan Cannavan
 
4. ‘in the Line of Fire’: Representations of Women and War (1919–1923) through the Writings of Republican Men
Louise Ryan
 
5. Constance Markievicz and the Politics of Memory
Karen Steele
 
6. Representations and Attitudes of Republican Women in the Novels of Annie M. P. Smithson (1873–1948) and Rosamond Jacob (1888–1960)
Danae O’Regan
 
7. ‘and behind Him a Wicked Hag Did Stalk’: From Maiden to Mother, Ireland as Woman through the Male Psyche
Jayne Steel
 
8. ‘We Had to Be Stronger’: The Political Imprisonment of Women in Northern Ireland, 1972–1999
Mary Corcoran
 
9. Female Combatants, Paramilitary Prisoners and the Development of Feminism in the Republican Movement
Rhiannon Talbot
 
10. Narratives of Political Activism from Women in West Belfast
Claire Hackett
 
11. the Emergence of a Gender Consciousness: Women and Community Work in West Belfast
Callie Persic
 
12. Times of Transition: Republican Women, Feminism 

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Nationalism, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: Ireland

Year: 2019

Female Fighters: Why Rebel Groups Recruit Women for War

Citation:

Wood, Reed M. 2019. Female Fighters: Why Rebel Groups Recruit Women for War. New York: Columbia University Press.

Author: Reed M. Wood

Annotation:

Summary:
The presence of women combatants on the battlefield-especially in large numbers-strikes many observers as a notable departure from the historical norm. Yet women have played a significant active role in many contemporary armed rebellions. Over recent decades, numerous resistance movements in many regions of the globe have deployed thousands of female fighters in combat. In Female Fighters, Reed M. Wood explains why some rebel groups deploy women in combat while others exclude women from their ranks, and the strategic implications of this decision. Examining a vast original dataset on female fighters in over 250 rebel organizations, Wood argues rebel groups can gain considerable strategic advantages by including women fighters. Drawing on women increases the pool of available recruits and helps ameliorate resource constraints. Furthermore, the visible presence of female fighters often becomes an important propaganda tool for domestic and international audiences. Images of women combatants help raise a group's visibility, boost local recruitment, and aid the group's efforts to solicit support from transnational actors and diaspora communities. However, Wood finds that, regardless of the wartime resource challenges they face, religious fundamentalist rebels consistently resist utilizing female fighters. A rich, data-driven study, Female Fighters presents a systematic, comprehensive analysis of the impact women's participation has on organized political violence in the modern era. (Summary from Columbia University Press)

Table of Contents:
Introduction

1. Why Rebels Mobilize Women for War

2. The Strategic Implications of Female Fighters

3. Female Combatants in Three Civil Wars

4. Empirical Evaluation of Female Combatant Prevalence

5. Empirical Evaluation of the Effects of Female Combatants

Conclusion: Understanding Women's Participation in Armed Resistance

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Religion, Violence

Year: 2019

Gender-Based Differences among 1990-1991 Gulf War Era Veterans: Demographics, Lifestyle Behaviors, and Health Conditions

Citation:

Brown, Mackenzie C., Kellie J. Sims, Elizabeth J. Gifford, Karen M. Goldstein, Marcus R. Johnson, Christina D. Williams, and Dawn Provenzale. 2019. "Gender-Based Differences among 1990-1991 Gulf War Era Veterans: Demographics, Lifestyle Behaviors, and Health Conditions." Women's Health Issues 29 (S1): 47-55. 

Authors: Mackenzie C. Brown, Kellie J. Sims, Elizabeth J. Gifford, Karen M. Goldstein, Marcus R. Johnson, Christina D. Williams, Dawn Provenzale

Abstract:

Objective: The 1990-1991 Gulf War employed more women servicemembers than any prior conflict. Gender-based differences among veterans of this era have yet to be explored. This study is among the first and most recent to stratify Gulf War veteran demographics, lifestyle factors, and self-reported diagnoses by gender. 
 
Methods: Data from the cross-sectional Gulf War Era Cohort and Biorepository pilot study (n = 1,318; collected between 2014 and 2016), including users and nonusers of the Veterans Health Administration, were used to calculate demographics and adjusted odds ratio. 
 
Results: Women veterans were oversampled and comprised approximately 23% of the sample. Women reported similar rates of Veterans Health Administration use (44%) and deployment (67%) as men (46% and 72%, respectively). Women were less likely than men to report frequent alcohol use (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.59; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.43-0.81; p = .0009) or have a history of smoking (aOR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.49-0.84; p = .0014). Among common health conditions, women were more likely than men to report a diagnosis of osteoporosis (aOR, 4.24; 95% CI, 2.39-7.51; p < .0001), bipolar disorder (aOR, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.15-4.04; p = .0167), depression (aOR, 2.39; 95% CI, 1.81-3.16; p < .0001), irritable bowel syndrome (aOR, 2.10; 95% CI, 1.43-3.09; p = .0002), migraines (aOR, 2.96; 95% CI, 2.18-4.01; p < .0001), asthma (aOR, 1.86; 95% CI, 1.29-2.67; p = .0008), and thyroid problems (aOR, 4.60; 95% CI, 3.14-6.73; p < .0001). Women were less likely than men to report hypertension (aOR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.41-0.72; p < .0001), tinnitus (aOR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.33-0.63; p < .0001), and diabetes (aOR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.28-0.69; p = .0003). 
 
Conclusions: Health differences exist between female and male veterans from the 1990-1991 Gulf War. Gender-specific analyses are needed to better understand the unique health care needs of Gulf War Era veterans and direct future research.
 

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Health, Mental Health

Year: 2019

Gender and Politics in Northern Ireland and Kosovo

Citation:

Potter, Michael. 2020. "Gender and Politics in Northern Ireland and Kosovo." In Inclusion in Post-Conflict Legislatures, 99-126. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Author: Michael Potter

Abstract:

This chapter explores the dimensions of gender and politics in Kosovo and Northern Ireland. The dynamics of the two conflicts and their transitions are explored in the context of how they impact on women’s empowerment, particularly in the political sphere. The concept of ‘gender’ as an analytical category is discussed and the literature of women and conflict explored. The roles of women and men in the conflicts of Northern Ireland and Kosovo are then analysed, highlighting differences and similarities, for example, the more overt use of sexual violence in Kosovo and the presence of women combatants in Northern Ireland. The gendered nature of the transition from conflict and post-conflict representation is then discussed.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Conflict, Gender, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe Countries: Kosovo, United Kingdom

Year: 2020

Conflict, Disaster and Changing Gender Roles in Nepal: Women’s Everyday Experiences

Citation:

K.C., Luna. 2019. "Conflict, Disaster and Changing Gender Roles in Nepal: Women’s Everyday Experiences." PhD diss., Wageningen University.

Author: Luna K.C.

Annotation:

Summary:
Nepal suffered from the civil conflict from 1996 to 2006 as the Communist party of Nepal (so-called Maoist) sought to end the monarchical system that had been in place for 240 years and establish a People’s Republic. The Maoist-party ideology was highly focused upon the structural transformation of the country and had a strong message about women’s empowerment. The conflict brought a dramatic shift in the social, economic, and the political situation of Nepal. In November 2006, the peace agreement was signed, the country then started the post-conflict reconstruction process, such as writing a new constitution, constitution assembly election, state restructuring, and the policy formation.
 
The Maoist conflict produced multiple gendered effects upon women’s everyday lives. One category of women joined as Maoist combatants in search of equality and empowerment and performed roles equal to men in the war. Another category of women stayed behind when the men fled from the war to the cities or neighbouring countries, and their husbands, fathers or sons were killed, or became rebels or disappeared in the war. Women non-combatants experienced a situation where men’s work shifted onto their shoulders and they performed dual roles; at home and outside.
 
After the earthquake happened on 25 April 2015 in Nepal, women were impacted in a different way. When men were killed or became disabled, were away, or lost income in the earthquake, women took over men’s roles and responsibilities, such as rescued their family members, searched for the food, accommodation, financial support, jobs, health care, including took care of the children and elderly people. At the same time, women were also involved in a multiple role during post-earthquake settings.
 
The conflict/post-conflict/disaster period produces gendered effects; thus, gender analysis becomes fundamental during this time to understand how women and men deal with the rapid gender role change in the context of crisis and its aftermath, when there is a certain return to the normal situation.
 
This thesis is about women and changing gender roles in Nepal. The study traces the gendered effects of the Maoist war and the earthquake on women’s everyday lives. It examines how women experience the impact of the Maoist war and the post-conflict era in relation to shifting gender roles, responsibilities, challenges, and new openings. The thesis then asks similar questions about women affected by the earthquake, that happened while the country was still struggling with post-conflict issues.
 
Chapter 1 presents the introduction, which offers an overview of the main concern of the thesis and the theoretical perspectives (the sexual division of labour and power, ideology of gender, structural factors, and the role of the policy) that inform it. Chapter 2 outlines the methodology (in-depth interview, focuses group discussion, participant observation, and key informant interview) applied to conduct this study.
 
Chapter 3 examined how the Maoist conflict in Nepal affected women ex-combatants and non-combatants, looking at changes in gender roles during and after the conflict particularly from the standpoint of livelihood challenges in the post-war period. Major findings indicate that changing gender roles largely depend upon everyday practice of sexual division of labour and power as it evolved during and after the conflict. It also shows that the conflict produced different and contradictory effects on both categories of women who experienced shifts in gender roles. In post-war settings, these changes were partly reversed, and especially ex-combatant women faced severe livelihood challenges and returned to traditional gender roles.
 
Chapter 4 investigated how the Maoist armed conflict in Nepal was a struggle for the emancipation of women and it particularly looked at how women ex-combatants were engaged with ideas of gender equality and women’s empowerment during the Maoist war and afterwards. It further explores what happens to women’s ideological drive as gender roles ‘shift back’ after the war. The results demonstrate that in the Maoist war women ex-combatants were strongly committed to the Maoist gender ideology and experienced empowerment through this process, as they adopted non-traditional roles and crossed gender as well as caste lines. However, in the post-war, they felt ambivalent empowerment because there was a lack of commitment from the Maoist party to issues of gender equality and at the same time the patriarchal structures continued intact and, in some ways, even strengthened, and women faced multiple exclusions. 
 
Chapter 5 looked at how women ex-combatants experienced the reintegration process in the aftermath of war. The study found that the reintegration programming of Nepal lack gender framework due to which woman encountered a range of challenges in the post-war period. Mainly, the challenges were two-fold: At the societal level; they struggled to gain recognition, and at the family level they negotiated/renegotiated to rebuild relationships and safety-nets.
 
Chapter 6 investigated what challenges women faced in the wake of the earthquake and how these were related to their gender position. It asks how gender roles changed in relation to the earthquake in Nepal. Findings illustrate that different categories of women faced the effects of earthquake differently, especially with regards to the intersectionality of gender and migration and family composition. The earthquake provided women a window of opportunity to change gender roles. On the other hand, women encountered great difficulties in addressing their everyday needs and experienced gender-based exclusion.
 
Chapter 7 synthesises the outcomes of the four substantive chapters, discusses the findings, and offers four recommendations for policy implications.
 
Table of Contents:
Acknowledgements
Chapter 1: Introduction
 
Chapter 2: Methodology
 
Chapter 3: Changing Gender Role: Women’s Livelihoods, Conflict and Post-Conflict Security in Nepal
 
Chapter 4:Living Maoist Gender Ideology:Experiences of Women Ex-Combatants in Nepal 79
 
Chapter 5: Everyday Realities of Reintegration: Experiences of Maoist ‘Verified’ Women Ex- Combatants in the Aftermath of War in Nepal
 
Chapter 6: Exploring Gendered Effects of the 2015 Earthquake in Nepal through Women’s Eyes
 
Chapter 7: Conclusion and Discussion

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Caste, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Displacement & Migration, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Intersectionality, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Peace Processes Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2019

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