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Female Combatants

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


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


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:
Marie Coleman
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


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

Author: Reed M. Wood


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:

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


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


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


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


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

Fighting about Women: Ideologies of Gender in the Syrian Civil War


Szekely, Ora. 2020. "Fighting about Women: Ideologies of Gender in the Syrian Civil War." Journal of Global Security Studies 5 (3): 408-26.

Author: Ora Szekely


This article seeks to map and explain the sudden increase in the appearance of female combatants in the propaganda distributed by various parties to the Syrian civil war. Based on interviews and the analysis of online propaganda, the article argues that the importance of ideologies of gender to two of the four main participants in the Syrian civil war (specifically, the Kurdish Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat, PYD, and the Islamic State, or ISIS) has rendered gender ideology an unusually salient point of ideological cleavage in the Syrian context. This has meant that other parties to the conflict, for whom gender ideology is less important, are able to easily signal their position in relation to other conflict participants by means of policies or actions relating to women’s participation in the conflict.

Keywords: civil war, gender, Syria, middle east

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Media Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2020

Can Women Benefit from War? Women’s Agency in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies


Yadav, Punam. 2020. "Can Women Benefit from War? Women’s Agency in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies." Journal of Peace Research 20 (10): 1-13.

Author: Punam Yadav


Women’s agency in Peace and Conflict Studies has received increased policy attention since the formulation of UN Security Council Resolution in 2000. Academic attention regarding this question has, as a result, also increased dramatically in the intervening period. Women today, as a consequence, are not just seen as victims of conflict, but also as agents of change. Despite their vulnerabilities in the situations created by conflict, women may be exposed to new knowledge and opportunities, which may have positive impacts on their lives. Therefore, it is important to recognize the lived realities and the multiple stories of postwar societies to address the new needs of people and build a sustainable peace. This article examines the everyday lives of women in post-conflict Nepal to demonstrate the significant transformations that have taken place since the war. It specifically investigates conflict-induced social and structural changes through the lived experiences of women tempo drivers, war widows, women ex-combatants and women politicians. This article is based on the analysis of 200 interviews and six focus group discussions (FGDs) carried out over a period of 12 years in seven districts of Nepal.

Keywords: civil war, Nepal, peace and security, post-conflict transformation, women's empowerment, women's agency

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Peace and Security, Post-Conflict, Peacebuilding, Political Participation, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2020

En Búsqueda de Visibilización : Experiencias y Necesidades de las Excombatientes de las FARC-EP en el Escenario de Construcción de Paz


Herrera, Angie Lorena Ruiz, y Omar Huertas Díaz. 2019. “En Búsqueda de Visibilización : Experiencias y Necesidades de las Excombatientes de las FARC-EP en el Escenario de Construcción de Paz.” Reflexión Politica 21 (42): 9-29.

Authors: Angie Lorena Ruiz Herrera, Omar Huertas Díaz


La insurgencia se ha caracterizado por divulgar discursos de igualdad entre hombres y mujeres, vinculando a sus filas la participación de la mujer como combatiente. Teniendo en cuenta el amplio protagonismo de la mujer en la guerra, esta investigación se pregunta acerca de las experiencias, aprendizajes y retos de las mujeres excombatientes de la guerrilla de las FARC-EP; lo anterior, en razón de la reincorporación a la civilidad que han emprendido estas mujeres derivada de la firma del Acuerdo Final para la Terminación del Conflicto y la Construcción de una Paz Estable y Duradera. Para esto, se indaga acerca de aspectos como salud, trabajo y seguridad; además, se realiza una entrevista semiestructurada a profundidad a cinco mujeres excombatientes de las FARC-EP. Se halla que el contexto social de crianza caracterizado por el abandono estatal y la presencia constante de la guerrilla facilitó su ingreso a la organización; igualmente, se encuentra la resignificación del rol de la mujer, convirtiéndose en un sujeto político e incidente en el cambio social. Asimismo, se indaga sobre la maternidad y la crianza y se identifican mujeres decididas con el cambio social en pro de sus nuevas familias y comprometidas con la lucha desde el escenario político. Finalmente, se identifican retos relativos a la seguridad y temores relacionados con la terminación de los acuerdos pactados, que se constituyen como obstáculos para la reincorporación social efectiva de las mujeres excombatientes. 
The insurgency has been characterized by spreading discourses of equality between men and women, linking to its ranks the participation of women as combatants. Taking into account the broad role of women in war, this research asks about the experiences, learning and challenges of women ex-combatants of the FARC-EP guerrilla, the previous, because of the reintegration to civility that They have undertaken these women derived from the signing of the Acuerdo Final para la terminación del conflicto y la construcción de una paz estable y duradera. For the above, it inquires about aspects such as health, work, security and others in the ARN registers and, in addition, a semi-structured in-depth interview is conducted with five ex-combatant women of the FARC-EP, residents of the Territorial Space of Training and Reintegration of Icononzo Tolima and in the city of Bogotá. Finding that the social context of parenting characterized by state abandonment and the constant presence of the guerrillas, facilitated their entry into the organization; also, there is the resignification of the role of women, becoming a political subject and incident in social change. Likewise, it inquires about motherhood and upbringing, finding women determined with social change in favor of their new families and committed to the fight from the political scene. Finally, the identified challenges include security and fears with the termination of the agreed agreements, which are obstacles to the effective social reintegration of ex-combatant women.

Keywords: mujer excombatiente, Acuerdo Final, FARC-EP, reincorporación social, FInal Agreement, social reintegration, farianas, mujer, ex-combatant woman

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Post-Conflict, Political Participation, Security Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2019

Mujeres Reinsertadas: Postconflicto en la Ciudad de Barranquilla


Pichón, Leticia Elena Hundek. 2016. "Mujeres Reinsertadas: Postconflicto en la Ciudad de Barranquilla." Advocatus 14 (27): 65-82. 

Author: Leticia Elena Hundek Pichón


La mayoría de las mujeres reinsertadas ingresaron al grupo armado durante la adolescencia, motivadas por factores tanto ideológicos como personales, atraídas por la búsqueda de un nuevo “proyecto de vida”. Si la reinserción a la vida civil fue un proceso traumático para los combatientes en general, para la mujer reinsertada lo fue mucho más si se reconoce la prevalencia de un contexto socio-cultural que mantiene la inequidad de las relaciones de género. Desarmada y desprovista de su rol revolucionario, tiene que competir ahora en un nuevo terreno al parecer menos favorable para su participación política. Las mujeres reinsertadas se ven ahora enfrentadas a un mundo que les sigue siendo hostil, desprovistas de las armas que en el pasado le dieron una dimensión diferente a su rol tradicional y envueltas ahora en la complicada trama de recomponer su vida afectiva, familiar y laboral. Las mujeres reinsertadas dejaron las actividades propias de la insurgencia, para asumir el retorno a una sociedad que aún se nutre de patrimonios culturales ancestrales, patriarcales, discriminatorios y represivos que generalmente limitan a la mujer al desempeño de roles domésticos, sexuales y reproductivos.
Most of the reinserted women entered the armed group during adolescence, motivated by both ideological and personal factors, attracted by the search for a new “life project”. If reintegration into civilian life was a traumatic process for the combatants in general, it was much more so for the reinserted woman if the prevalence of a socio-cultural context that maintains the inequality of gender relations was recognized. Disarmed and devoid of its revolutionary role, it has now to compete in a new terrain apparently less favorable to its political participation. Reinserted women now face a world that is still hostile to them, deprived of the weapons that in the past gave them a different dimension to their traditional role and are now involved in the complicated plot of recomposing their affective, family and work life. The reinserted women left the activities of the insurgency, to assume the return to a society that still feeds on ancestral, patriarchal, discriminatory and repressive cultural patrimonies that limit women to the performance of domestic, sexual and reproductive roles.

Keywords: mujeres reinsertadas, postconflicto, roles politicos-económicos, relaciones de género, reinserted women, postconflict, political-economic roles, gender relations

Topics: Age, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Political Participation Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2016

De Mujer Combatiente a Mujer Constructora de Paz. Inclusión de la Voz Feminina en el Escenario del Posacuerdo


Díaz, Omar Huertas, Angie Lorena Ruiz Herrera, y Nancy Judith Botía Hernández. 2018. “De Mujer Combatiente a Mujer Constructora de Paz. Inclusión de la Voz Feminina en el Escenario del Posacuerdo.” Revista Ratio Juris UNAULA 12 (25): 43-67.

Authors: Omar Huertas Díaz, Angie Lorena Ruiz Herrera, Nancy Judith Botía Hernández


Los acuerdos de paz alcanzados por el gobierno nacional y las FARC-EP demandan el apoyo de los diferentes sectores de la población colombiana, para la construcción de la tan anhelada paz estable y duradera. Por lo anterior, la presente investigación tiene como objetivo vislumbrar la participación de la mujer excombatiente en los escenarios de paz, así como la necesidad de su articulación luego de los acuerdos colombianos. Para esto, se realizará una aproximación a las voces de algunas mujeres excombatientes de diferentes grupos armados ilegales que se encuentran en los programas de Desarme, Desmovilización y Reintegración (DDR) de la anterior Agencia Colombiana para la Reintegración (ACR), ahora Agencia de Reincorporación y Normalización (ARN); igualmente, se conocerán algunos de los procesos de paz desarrollados en otras naciones, para entender cómo la mujer excombatiente ha participado en los procesos de construcción de paz, encontrando que a nivel internacional ha sido poca la articulación de las mujeres excombatientes y que en Colombia se hacen esfuerzos por la articulación de las mujeres en general, abriendo las puertas para la participación política de todas, independientemente de sus ideales políticos, pues son valiosos los aportes que pueden representar en el escenario del posacuerdo.” 
The peace agreements between national government and the farc-ep demanding the support of different sectors of Colombian people for the building of desired stable and lasting peace. Therefore, the recent research has us objective to show the participation of the former combatant woman on the peace fields and the need of her articulation after Colombian agreements. For this, we are going to realize one approximation to the voices of some of the former combatant women from different illegal armed groups, who are in the programs of the Colombian Agency for Reintegration (ACR), now Reorganization and Standardization Agency (ARN). We are going to know some the peace process development in other countries also, so we can know how the former combatant woman has participated in the processes of peace building. We found that in international level, their articulation has been little compared with Colombian case, where efforts are made for the articulation of the general women, opening doors for the political participation of all the women in independency of political ideas, well are found valuable the contributions that they can to represent on the stage of post agreement.

Keywords: acuerdos de paz, Mujeres, mujeres ex-combatientes, posacuerdo, posconflicto, paz, peace agreement, women, former combatant women, post agreement, postconflict, peace

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups, Post-Conflict, Peacebuilding, Political Participation, Peace Processes Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2018

“Femininity” and “Memory” in Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration Programmes in Colombia


Gindele, Rebecca, and Gustavo Rojas Páez. 2016. “’Femininity’ and ‘Memory’ in Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration Programmes in Colombia.” In Retos y Perspectivas de la Política Criminal, edited by Marcela Gutiérrez Quevedo and Ana Lucía Moncayo Albornoz, 211-36. Bogotá: Universidad Externado de Colombia.

Authors: Rebecca Gindele, Gustavo Rojas Páez


This article seeks to show the ways in which DDR programmes have an impact on the construction of the memory of female ex-combatants of guerrilla groups in Colombia. The article revolves around the following question: To what extent, the discourse on reintegration and participation surrounding the official frameworks of memory are adequate to the task of making visible the voices of female ex-combatants who participated in guerrilla organizations? In addressing this question, the article highlights two influential aspects in the construction of memory of women who were part of Colombia’s armed conflict as guerrilla fighters. On the one hand, women want to remember their experiences as combatants, and, on the other hand, in the phase of “reintegration” to civil life, women are confronted with expectations on femininity, which traverse their identity. The article suggests that it is important to broaden the analytical frameworks that define the role of the formation of memory of ex-combatants and take into account, the processes of agency advanced by former female fighters and their role as political subjects. 
Este escrito busca destacar cómo los procesos de Desarme, Desmovilización, y Reintegración (DDR) tienen un impacto en la construcción de la memoria de las mujeres excombatientes en Colombia. El escrito da cuenta de dos aspectos que influyen la construcción de la memoria de mujeres que participaron en el conflicto armado con grupos guerrilleros en distintos contextos. En primer lugar, las mujeres desean recordar y contar sus vivencias como combatientes. De lo anterior surge la pregunta ¿hasta qué punto el discurso de la reintegración y la participación en la paz permiten visibilizar las voces de estas mujeres dentro de los marcos oficiales de la memoria del conflicto? En segundo lugar, nuestra indagación explora las formas como las excombatientes afrontan las transformaciones de identidad y las construcciones de feminidades, dentro de los grupos armados y en la reintegración, cuando la sociedad exige los criterios establecidos de feminidad. El capítulo sugiere que es importante ampliar los marcos analíticos sobre la memoria de las mujeres excombatientes y dar cuenta de distintos procesos de agencia desarrollados por ellas como sujetos políticos. 


Keywords: identity, femininity, memory, gender, DDR, transitional justice, identidad, feminidad, memoria, justicia transicional, gênero

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Femininity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2016


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