Gender Hierarchies

We Did Not Realize about the Gender Issues. So, We Thought It Was a Good Idea: Gender Roles in Burmese Oppositional Struggles


Hedström, Jenny. 2016. “We Did Not Realize about the Gender Issues. So, We Thought It Was a Good Idea: Gender Roles in Burmese Oppositional Struggles.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 18 (1): 61–79. doi:10.1080/14616742.2015.1005516.

Author: Jenny Hedström


This article explores the link between nationalism, as expressed by the Burman state and ethnic and student opposition movements, and the emergence of a multiethnic women's movement engaged in resistance activities. In focusing on women's involvement in oppositional nation-making projects, this article aims to broaden our understanding of gender and conflict by highlighting women's agency in war. Drawing on interviews carried out with founding members of the women's movement, non-state armed groups and others active in civil society, the article investigates how a gendered political consciousness arose out of dissatisfaction with women's secondary position in armed opposition groups, leading to women forming a movement, not in opposition to conflict per se but in opposition to the rejection of their militarism, in the process redefining notions of political involvement and agency. By invoking solidarity based on a gendered positioning, rather than on an ethnic identity, the women's movement resisted the dominant nation-making projects, and created a nationalism inclusive of multiethnic differences. Burmese women's multiple wartime roles thus serve to upset supposed dichotomies between militancy and peace and victim and combatant, in the process redefining the relationship between gender, nationalism and militancy.

Keywords: nationalism, Myanmar, gender, ethnicity, conflict

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Civil Society, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Non-State Armed Groups, Nationalism, Political Participation Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Myanmar

Year: 2016

Sexual Violence During War and Peace: Gender, Power, and Post-Conflict Justice in Peru


Boesten, Jelke. 2014. Sexual Violence During War and Peace: Gender, Power, and Post-Conflict Justice in Peru. New York: Palgrave Macmillan US.

Author: Jelke Boesten


Using the Peruvian internal armed conflict as a case study, this book examines wartime rape and how it reproduces and reinforces existing hierarchies. Jelke Boesten argues that effective responses to sexual violence in wartime are conditional upon profound changes in legal frameworks and practices, institutions, and society at large. (Palgrave Macmillan)


Table of Contents: 
1. Introduction
2. Sexual Violence in War
3. Sexual Violence and the Reproduction of Inequalities 
4. Transitional Justice, Truths, and Narratives of Violence 
5. Impunity 
6. Peacetime Violence
7. Sexual Violence and Post-Conflict Justice

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice, Impunity, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Peru

Year: 2014

Where Women are Leaders: The SEWA Movement in India


Rose, Kalima. 1992. Where Women Are Leaders: The SEWA Movement in India. Zed Books Ltd. 

Author: Kalima Rose


"Where Women are Leaders is a narrative history of the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) the 40,000-strong union of India's poorest women which has increasingly become an inspiration to and living example of a new development model relevant to low-income women worldwide. SEWA's unique organizing tactics focus on the poorest and most vulnerable women in Indian society - those who are self-employed or working in the informal sector and who have been marginalized by mainstream development strategies.
Ela Bhatt, SEWA's founder and inspiration for two decades, and other long-standing members and organizers reveal the process of organizing for social change. Small inputs, SEWA's experience shows, can bring about significant socio-economic changes; and a strategy of combining union organizing with the formation of cooperatives, supported by childcare and health services as well as access to credit through a women's bank, can transform the lives of even the very poorest women.
This work traces SEWA's work from its initial organizing of women around basic wage and credit issues to its subsequence research and lobbying activists on larger development policy questions and its current national and international influence on employment and resource strategy. It integrates accounts of the exploitation, abuse and brutality unorganized women experience at the hands of the 'bosses', traders and the police, with interviews with the women responsible for the creative organizing SEWA has done; and analysis of the models SEWA has developed to serve its members both in Ahmedabad, where it first started, and elsewhere in the country." (Zed Books)

Topics: Class, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 1992

Just Add Women and Stir?


Dharmapuri, Sahana. 2011. “Just Add Women and Stir?” Parameters 41(1): 56-70.

Author: Sahana Dharmapuri


"Recent efforts made by UN peacekeeping missions and NATO to implement UN Resolution 1325, show that security actors are more successful when they take into account the different needs, status, and experience of men and women in the local population, and when peace and security missions include women in executing operations and decisionmaking. A growing body of evidence from the field reveals that the inclusion of women enhances operational effectiveness in three key ways: improved information gathering, enhanced credibility, and better force protection. Empirical evidence underscores the fact that attention to the different needs, interests, and experiences of men and women can enhance the success of a variety of security tasks, to the benefit of both civilians and soldiers" (Dharmapuri 2011, 56).

Topics: Gender, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equality/Inequality, Political Participation, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325

Year: 2011

Centering Security Studies Around Felt, Gendered Insecurities


Sjoberg, Laura. 2016. “Centering Security Studies Around Felt, Gendered Insecurities.” Journal of Global Security Studies 1 (1): 51–63. 

Author: Laura Sjoberg


This article draws on two decades of work in feminist security studies, which has argued that gender is necessary, conceptually, for understanding the concepts of war and security; important, empirically, for analyzing causes and predicting outcomes in the field of security; and essential to finding solutions to insecurity in global politics. The work of feminist security studies suggests that one of the most persistent features of the global political arena is gender hierarchy, which plays a role in defining and distributing security. The argument in this article moves from talking about the security of gender to discussing the gendered sources of insecurity across global politics. It then builds on existing work in Feminist Security Studies to suggest a felt, sensed, and experiential notion of the security/insecurity dichotomy as a new way to think about global security (studies). A (feminist) view of “security as felt” could transform the shape of a number of research programs in security studies.

Keywords: gender, security, feminist theory, experience

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Globalization, Security

Year: 2016

Gendered Water Spaces: A Study of the Transition from Wells to Handpumps in Mozambique


Houweling, Emily Van. 2015. “Gendered Water Spaces: A Study of the Transition from Wells to Handpumps in Mozambique.” Gender, Place & Culture 22 (10): 1391–407. 

Author: Emily Van Houweling


In many parts of rural Africa, women and children spend a lot of time collecting water. In the development literature, the water collection task is portrayed as oppressive, arduous, and disliked by women. Eliminating this activity from women's lives is believed to empower them, yet there has been little research investigating what actually happens at the water source or how women themselves perceive the time spent there. This research is based on one year of ethnographic fieldwork in five rural communities in the northern province of Nampula, Mozambique. Over this year, handpumps were constructed in communities where people previously collected water from distant shallow wells and rivers. This article compares the social interactions and activities between the customary water sites and the handpump through the lens of gendered space. The customary water sites are controlled by women and highly valued for their social attributes. While clean water is more accessible at the handpumps, men often regulate access to the technology and social activities are limited. This article contributes to feminist geography and political ecology by showing how differences in the materiality of water spaces interact with local norms to shape social interactions and gendered subjectivities, and how, in turn, men and women contribute to the production and meaning of these spaces. I argue that the handpumps open up new spaces for men and women to negotiate gender roles and (re)define their associations with modernity and development.

Keywords: water, gender, women, Mozambique, Africa

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Political Economies Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Mozambique

Year: 2015

Women, Girls, and Non-State Armed Opposition Groups


Mazurana, Dyan. 2012. “Women, Girls, and Non-State Armed Opposition Groups." In Women and Wars, edited by Carol Cohn, 146-68. Malden, MA: Polity Press.  

Author: Dyan Mazurana

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Femininity/ies, Gender Roles, Girls, Masculinity/ies, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Terrorism

Year: 2012

Gender, War, and Conflict


Sjoberg, Laura. 2014. Gender, War, and Conflict. Cambridge: Polity Press. 


Author: Laura Sjoberg


"From Pakistan to Chechnya, Sri Lanka to Canada, pioneering women are taking their places in formal and informal military structures previously reserved for, and assumed appropriate only for men. Women have fought in wars, either as women or covertly dressed as men, throughout the history of warfare, but only recently have they been allowed to join state militaries, insurgent groups, and terrorist organizations in unprecedented numbers. This begs the question - how useful are traditional gendered categories in understanding the dynamics of war and conflict? And why are our stories of gender roles in war typically so narrow? Who benefits from them? In this illuminating book, Laura Sjoberg explores how gender matters in war-making and war-fighting today. Drawing on a rich range of examples from conflicts around the world, she shows that both women and men play many more diverse roles in wars than either media or scholarly accounts convey. Gender, she argues, can be found at every turn in the practice of war; it is crucial to understanding not only 'what war is', but equally how it is caused, fought and experienced."


Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Femininity/ies, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, LGBTQ

Year: 2014

¿Por Qué Se Vinculan Las Niñas a Los Grupos Guerrilleros Y Paramilitares En Colombia?


Moreno Martín, Florentino, Jaime Alberto Carmona Parra, and Felipe Tobón Hoyos. 2010. “¿Por Qué Se Vinculan Las Niñas a Los Grupos Guerrilleros Y Paramilitares En Colombia?” Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología 42 (3): 453–67.

Authors: Florentino Moreno Martín, Jaime Alberto Carmona Parra, Felipe Tobón Hoyos



Este trabajo realiza una comparación entre las explicaciones que los investigadores del fenómeno de los niños soldado en Colombia dan de los motivos por los cuales los menores ingresaron a los grupos armados ilegales, con los testimonios de las 21 niñas desmovilizadas en Antioquia durante 2004. Se hizo un análisis de contenido de las investigaciones empíricas y de las sucesivas entrevistas en profundidad en las que participaron las niñas. Existe coincidencia entre niñas e investigadores en la relativa importancia atribuida al maltrato familiar y a la casi nula motivación ideológica, pero se dan diferencias significativas en el mayor peso atribuido por los investigadores a determinismos objetivos como la pobreza, y en la gran importancia atribuida por las menores a elementos lúdicos como el afán de aventura, la diversión y los criterios estéticos.
This study seeks to compare the explanations that the researchers of the phenomenon of child soldiers in Colombia give about the motives for which the minors entered the illegal armed groups with the testimonies of 21 demobilized young girls in Antioquia during 2004. An analysis of content was performed of the empiric research and the successive in-depth interviews in which these girls participated. Testimonies between the girls and researchers coincide in the relative importance attributed to family abuse and the almost null ideological motivation, but there are significant differences with respect to the greater weight attributed by the researchers to poverty, and at the same time the desire of minors to have access to leisure activities like the rush for adventure, entertainment, and aesthetic criteria. 

Keywords: infancia, guerrilla, guerra, paramilitarismo, motivación, children, war, guerrilla war, paramilitary, motivation

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Civil Society, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Political Participation, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2010

Mujeres no contadas: Proceso de desmovilización y retorno a la vida civil de mujeres excombatientes en Colombia 1990-2003


Londoño Fernández, Luz María and Yoana Fernanda Nieto Valdivieso. 2006. Mujeres no contadas: Proceso de desmovilización y retorno a la vida civil de mujeres excombatientes en Colombia 1990-2003. Medellín: La Carreta Editores. 

Authors: Luz María Londoño Fernández, Yoana Fernanda Nieto Valdivieso

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Civil Society, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Men, Girls, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Political Participation, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2006


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