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Female Combatants

Militarized Gender Performativity: Women and Demobilization in Colombia’s FARC and AUC

Citation:

Méndez, Andrea. 2012. “Militarized Gender Performativity: Women and Demobilization in Colombia’s FARC and AUC.” PhD diss., Queen’s University.

Author: Andrea Méndez

Abstract:

Women are usually represented as victims in the literature on conflict and conflict resolution. While women are indeed victims of violence in the context of conflict, this representation excludes the experiences of women who have joined and fought in illegal armed groups. Little is known about the lives of women who fight alongside men in illegal militarized organizations. These women are often overlooked during peace negotiations and in the design and implementation of Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration programs, affecting their conditions and experiences during the transition to civilian life. The Colombian conflict presents an important case study regarding the militarization of women in illegal armed groups, and the experience of demobilization, and is the focus of this dissertation. To address this case study, the concept of “militarized gender performativity” is advanced, drawing on the works of Cynthia Enloe and Judith Butler. In the Colombian case, both left–wing and right–wing armed groups have incorporated women into their ranks. This research elucidates the effects of non– state militarism on the social processes that produce and reproduce gender systems in two of Colombia’s illegal armed groups, uncovering how the FARC and the AUC construct, negotiate, challenge, or reinforce gender roles. The research indicates that there are significant differences in the way this is done. Interviews with ex–combatants from the FARC and the AUC show that women’s sexuality plays a central role in the militarization of women combatants in both organizations, but there are specific policies that establish the nature of the relationships in each group. These differences represent distinct militarized femininities which maintain aspects of traditional gender relations while transforming others according to the needs of the organization in question. The transformation of gender identities in each of the armed groups reveals the performative nature of gender roles in a militarized context.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Gender Roles, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Peace Processes, Sexuality Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2012

Reintegrating FARC’s Female Combatants: The Challenges of Addressing Gender Binaries in Transitional Justice

Citation:

Ebrahimi-Tsamis, Aleisha. 2018. “Reintegrating FARC’s Female Combatants: The Challenges of Addressing Gender Binaries in Transitional Justice.” Birkbeck Law Review 6 (1): 79–109.

Author: Aleisha Ebrahimi-Tsamis

Abstract:

Against the backdrop of the 2016 Colombian plebiscite and the subsequent peace treaty, the female Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia/Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) face insurmountable obstacles in returning to civilian life. Long-standing gender disparity, largely amplified by socio-economic inequality, manifested with an estimated 40% female guerrilla membership. This article argues that the financial incentives, physical protection and sense of equality offered by FARC posed a strong lure to females who were otherwise at a natural disadvantage within Colombian society, resulting in a large number of female combatants facing gender-specific challenges now that FARC has formally ended their existence as an armed group. Whilst considering female victims of human rights (HR) violations, deeper consideration is given to the symbiotic and conflicting duality of a female who may fulfill the roles of both victim and abuser, and the inability of present transitional justice (TJ) mechanisms to approach and adequately address such a dyad. (Birkbeck Law Review)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Justice, Transitional Justice, Military Forces & Armed Groups Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2018

Las Farianas: Reintegration of Former Female FARC Fighters as a Driver for Peace in Colombia

Citation:

Barrios Sabogal, Laura Camila, and Solveig Richter. 2019. “Las Farianas: Reintegration of Former Female FARC Fighters as a Driver for Peace in Colombia.” Cuadernos de Economía 38 (78): 753–84.

Authors: Laura Camila Barrios Sabogal, Solveig Richter

Abstract:

The 2016 peace agreement includes comprehensive prescriptions for the so-called “reincorporation” of former combatants into the social, economic and political life of Colombia. However, the literature is somewhat skeptical regarding the reintegration of female fighters, since they are usually either neglected or are facing intense stigmatization by the society. Nevertheless, based on empirical data from field research in 2018, we argue that both former FARC ex-combatants and conflict-affected communities largely support the reintegration process. This acceptance offers not only prospects for peace but a unique opportunity to promote gender equality in the traditional Colombian society.

Keywords: Colombia, peace agreement, FARC, DDR, reintegration, gender, former female FARC combatants

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Peacebuilding Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2019

Commander Arian: A Story of Women, War and Freedom

"On the front line of the Syrian war, 30-year-old Commander Arian guides a female battalion towards the city of Kobane to release its people from the grip of ISIS in Alba Sotorra’s empowering tale of emancipation and freedom. When the war in Syria broke, a group of women from the Kurdish resistance assembled the YPJ—Women Protection Units. Arian, who witnessed at a young age the nefarious treatment of sexual assault victims, leads the unit and dedicates her life to battling ISIS.

Demobilisation of Female Ex-Combatants in Colombia

Citation:

Schwitalla, Gunhild, and Luisa Maria Dietrich. 2007. “Demobilisation of Female Ex-Combatants in Colombia.” Forced Migration Review 27: 58–9.

Authors: Gunhild Schwitalla, Luisa Maria Dietrich

Annotation:

Summary: 
"Among the millions of Colombian IDPs one group is particularly invisible – women and girls associated with illegal armed groups. The current demobilisation process does not adequately address the consequences of the sexual violence they have suffered before, during and after conflict" (Schwitalla and Dietrich 2007, 58).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, DDR, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Conflict, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Paramilitaries, Non-state Armed Groups, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2007

Why Women Rebel: Understanding Women’s Participation in Armed Rebel Groups

Citation:

Henshaw, Alexis Leanna. Why Women Rebel: Understanding Women’s Participation in Armed Rebel Groups. Routledge Studies in Gender and Global Politics. London; New York: Routledge, 2017.

Author: Alexis Leanna Henshaw

Abstract:

‘Why Women Rebel’ presents a global analysis of the extent to which women are engaged in armed, organized rebellions, and why they choose to join such rebellions. Henshaw has collected and analyzed data on women's participation in over 70 post-Cold War rebel groups and provides a theoretical analysis drawing upon both mainstream literature in the social sciences and critical, feminist inquiry on women and political violence to offer a new gendered theory on why women rebel. The book demonstrates that women are active in well over half of all rebel groups sampled and that, while the majority of rebel groups have women serving in support roles away from direct combat, approximately a third of groups employ women in the conduct of armed attacks, and just over a quarter have women in a leadership capacity. Henshaw reaffirms the idea that women are more likely to be engaged in left-wing political organizations, but does suggest that more conservative or traditional movements may also successfully incorporate women by appealing to concerns about community rights. This book will be of interest to academics in the fields of political science, international relations, security studies, and gender and women's studies. (Abstract from WorldCat)

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups

Year: 2017

Bringing Women’s Voices Back In: Conducting Narrative Analysis in IR

Citation:

Harel-Shalev, Ayelet, and Shir Daphna-Tekoah. “Bringing Women’s Voices Back In: Conducting Narrative Analysis in IR.” International Studies Review 18, no. 2 (June 2016): 171–94.

Authors: Ayelet Harel-Shalev, Shir Daphna-Tekoah

Abstract:

In exploring wars and conflicts, Critical Security Studies and Feminist International Relations (IR) use various methodologies, including nontraditional avenues of inquiry. This study follows these theoretical and methodological perspectives and suggests a methodology that will contribute to contemporary debates in IR. Specifically, the study offers an innovative application of Carol Gilligan’s method, the “Listening Guide” (LG). The research demonstrates the utility of the LG analysis in uncovering additional forms of knowledge regarding armed conflicts. The context for analysis is women in combat. The implementation of the LG assists us in uncovering various voices, representing different aspects of the women combatants’ experiences in a conflict zone. In this study, this analytical tool, applied to conduct narrative research, enabled the researchers to hear both multiple and silenced voices. We suggest that this methodology should continue to be used in future studies and incorporated into the Security Studies and IR toolkit. (Abstract from original source)

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Military Forces & Armed Groups

Year: 2016

Demobilized Women Combatants: Lessons from Colombia

Citation:

Giraldo, Saridalia. 2012. “Demobilized Women Combatants: Lessons from Colombia.” Paper presented at the Thinking Gender Conference, UCLA Center for the Study of Women, Los Angeles, February 3.

Author: Saridalia Giraldo

Abstract:

In Colombia, a country with one of the longest civil wars in the world, women combatants return to civil society in the midst of ongoing tension. In this transition, women suffer triple difficulties: the reaction of their home communities; hostility from armed illegal groups still engaged in conflict, and disregarding from the government itself. What accounts for these obstacles? First, in a patriarchal society such as Colombia, demobilized women face the denigration of their community which views women’s participation in armed conflict as an infringement on traditional female roles. Second, in the midst of continued conflict, demobilized women are also in danger of being rerecruited, tortured, killed or displaced from their home towns by their former peers in combat who perceive them as traitors, or by active criminal groups who consider them as enemies. Third, public policy designed to demobilize and reintegrate combatants gives little attention to women´s special needs as victims of gender violence. Recognizing that women and their needs remain invisible, this paper proposes that formal and informal post-conflict measures in Colombia must be gendersensitized in order to effectively reintegrate women and men into civilian life.
 

Keywords: women combatants, demobilization, reintegration, DDR, peace-building, Colombia, civil war, guerrillas, FARC, sexual violence

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Gender Roles, Gender-Based Violence, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, Violence, Weapons /Arms Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2012

'I Acted like a Man’: Exploring Female Ex-Insurgents’ Narratives on Nigeria’s Oil Insurgency

Citation:

Oriola, Temitope. 2016. “‘I Acted like a Man’: Exploring Female Ex-Insurgents’ Narratives on Nigeria’s Oil Insurgency.” Review of African Political Economy 43 (149): 451–69. doi:10.1080/03056244.2016.1182013.

Author: Temitope Oriola

Abstract:

English Abstract:
This paper explores how a small sample of female ex-insurgents make sense of their engagement in Nigeria’s oil insurgency. The study is informed by three key questions: How did Delta women join the insurgency? Why did they join? How do they frame their participation? The paper analyses the prevalence of a masculinising rhetoric among participants. The majority of participants view their roles in the insurgency as antithetical to their gender. The implications of these findings are explored. Overall, the paper contributes to the growing body of work on women’s engagement in armed conflict as perpetrators rather than victims of violence.
 
French Abstract:
[« J’ai agi comme un homme » : l’étude des histoires des ex-insurgées sur l’insurrection liée au pétrole au Nigeria.] Cet article examine comment quelques ex-insurgées donnent du sens à leur engagement dans l’insurrection liée au pétrole au Nigéria. Cette étude tente de répondre à trois questions clés : Comment est-ce que les femmes du Delta ont rejoint l’insurrection? Pourquoi l’ont-elles rejoint? Comment est-ce qu’elles formulent leur participation? L’article analyse la prévalence d’une rhétorique masculinisante parmi les participants. La majorité des participants voit son rôle dans l’insurrection comme opposé à son genre. Les implications de ces résultats sont examinées. Dans l’ensemble, l’article contribue à la masse croissante de travail sur l’engagement des femmes dans les conflits armés, où elles sont considérées comme des responsables de la violence plutôt que comme des victimes.

Keywords: Niger Women, women and political violence, oil insurgency, Nigeria

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Female Perpetrators Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2016

Demobilized Women in Colombia: Embodiment, Performativity and Social Reconciliation

Citation:

Anctil Avoine, Priscyll, and Rachel Tillman. 2015. “Demobilized Women in Colombia: Embodiment, Performativity and Social Reconciliation.” In Female Combatants in Conflict and Peace, edited by Seema Shekhawat, 216–31. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Authors: Priscyll Anctil Avoine, Rachel Tillman

Abstract:

Colombia has been divided by armed conflict for over half a century. While still confronting multiple forms of violence, since the beginning of the peace talks in 2012 public attention in Colombia has shifted to social reconciliation. In June 2014, Colombians re-elected Juan Manuel Santos as president, his campaign having made peace the centre of attention. The peace negotiations in Havana have been widely recognized as promising by the national and international community, and an agreement with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia — Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP)1 is closer than ever. Women have been considerably marginalized in this peace process, however, especially those who played an active role in the armed conflict. These women experience a double alienation: not only has their participation in the perpetration of violence been largely invisible, but this failure to recognize their presence in the conflict means that they are also being overlooked in the peace-building process. Furthermore, their non-traditional performance of their own gender will make it very difficult for them as women to carve out a place in a post-conflict society. (Abstract from Springer)

Annotation:

"This chapter draws on Judith Butler’s work on gender performativity to articulate a framework of analysis for understanding the possible role of demobilized women in the Colombian peace process. We analyze from the perspective of embodied gender performativity a bibliography of narrative accounts of demobilized women in various regions of Colombia gathered by the Centro National de Memoria Histórica. We also conducted semi-structured interviews of key actors within the demobilization process, specifically with people who have had direct and sustained contact with women ex-combatants. Although these sources are not necessarily statistically representative of the wide range of women involved in combat in Colombia, they nonetheless allow us to build a preliminary panorama of the relationship between gender performativity and the lives of women combatants before, during and after the conflict" (Avoine & Tillman, 2015, p. 216-17). 
 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Peace Processes Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2015

Pages

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