Militarized Livelihoods

Women, War and Austerity: IFIs and the Construction of Gendered Economic Insecurities in Ukraine


Mathers, Jennifer G. 2020. “Women, War and Austerity: IFIs and the Construction of Gendered Economic Insecurities in Ukraine.” Review of International Political Economy, April, 1–22. doi: 10.1080/09692290.2020.1725903.

Author: Jennifer G. Mathers


This paper analyses the gendered circuits of violence that create and sustain economic insecurity in Ukraine. Drawing on feminist political economy analysis of the dependence of structural adjustment programmes on women’s labor, and feminist security studies critical analysis of the negative effects of militaries on human security, the paper shows how IFI-imposed austerity measures in Ukraine are inextricable from processes of militarization. While the gendered impacts of each of these distinct processes have been explored, this paper empirically demonstrates how IFI loan conditionalities and militarization intensify and reinforce one another precisely through the burdens they place on households and especially on women in the context of conflict.

Keywords: Ukraine, global financial crisis, international financial institutions, gender, conflict, security, russia

Topics: Economies, Feminist Economics, Conflict, Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Households, International Financial Institutions, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarization, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Security, Violence Regions: Asia, Europe, Eastern Europe Countries: Russian Federation, Ukraine

Year: 2020

Unmaking Militarized Masculinity: Veterans and the Project of Military-to-Civilian Transition


Bulmer, Sarah, and Maya Eichler. 2017. “Unmaking Militarized Masculinity: Veterans and the Project of Military-to-Civilian Transition.” Critical Military Studies 3 (2): 161-81.

Authors: Sarah Bulmer, Maya Eichler


Feminist scholarship on war and militarization has typically focussed on the making of militarized masculinity. However, in this article, we shed light on the process of ‘unmaking’ militarized masculinity through the experiences of veterans transitioning from military to civilian life. We argue that in the twenty-first century, veterans’ successful reintegration into civilian society is integral to the legitimacy of armed force in Western polities and is therefore a central concern of policymakers, third-sector service providers, and the media. But militarized masculinity is not easily unmade. Veterans often struggle with their transition to civilian life and the negotiation of military and civilian gender norms. They may have an ambivalent relationship with the state and the military. Furthermore, militarized masculinity is embodied and experienced, and has a long and contradictory afterlife in veterans themselves. Attempts to unmake militarized masculinity in the figure of the veteran challenge some of the key concepts currently employed by feminist scholars of war and militarization. In practice, embodied veteran identities refuse a totalizing conception of what militarized masculinity might be, and demonstrate the limits of efforts to exceptionalize the military, as opposed to the civilian, aspects of veteran identity. In turn, the very liminality of this ‘unmaking’ troubles and undoes neat categorizations of military/civilian and their implied masculine/feminine gendering. We suggest that an excessive focus on the making of militarized masculinity has limited our capacity to engage with the dynamic, co-constitutive, and contradictory processes which shape veterans’ post-military lives.

Keywords: militarized masculinity, veterans, experience, gender, military-to-civilian transitions, militarization

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, DDR, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Peacebuilding

Year: 2017

Stress, Coping, and Mental Health-Seeking Behaviors: Gender Differences in OEF/OIF Health Care Providers


Gibbons, Susanne W., Scott D. Barnett, Edward J. Hickling, Pamela L. Herbig-Wall, and Dorraine D. Watts. 2012. “Stress, Coping, and Mental Health-Seeking Behaviors: Gender Differences in OEF/OIF Health Care Providers.” Journal of Traumatic Stress 25 (1): 115–19. doi:10.1002/jts.21661.

Authors: Scott D. Barnett, Susanne W. Gibbons, Pamela L. Herbig-Wall, Edward J. Hickling, Dorraine D. Watts


Health care providers (HCPs) are often placed in positions of heightened stress when serving in military operations. As military HCPs have a large number of female providers, there is a concern that gender may influence both risk and resiliency within the health care provider subgroup. The purpose of this secondary analysis of the 2005 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Military Personnel (data collected April through August 2005) is to describe stress, coping, and health-seeking behaviors of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom deployed military health care providers and the role gender may have for both health care officers and specialists. Female HCP responses indicate the lives of these women are significantly impacted by their family responsibilities. Reluctance of females to seek mental health care is concerning with perhaps more concern over career than personal well-being. Findings included (a) concern about performance, odds ratio (OR) = 1.86, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.43, 8.12] for enlisted females, OR = 2.83, 95% CI [0.31, 25.66] for female officers; (b) problems with money, OR = 1.6 CI [0.69, 3.7] for enlisted females; (c) having a drink to cope, OR = 3.26, 95% CI [0.22, 48.68] for enlisted females; and (d) damage military career to seek mental health care, OR = 1.78, 95% CI [0.59, 5.39] for female officers. Results indicate needed provider awareness concerning mental health-seeking behavior and sensitivity toward gender differences that contribute to unique manifestations of operational stress outcomes.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, Iraq

Year: 2012

Securing Social Difference: Militarization and Sexual Violence in an Afro-Nicaraguan Community


Goett, Jennifer. 2015. “Securing Social Difference: Militarization and Sexual Violence in an Afro-Nicaraguan Community.” American Ethnologist 42 (3): 475–89. doi:10.1111/amet.12142.

Author: Jennifer Goett


Renewed violence in Nicaragua in the aftermath of the 1980s Contra War is tied to the drug trade, drug war militarization, and the rise of the postwar security state. State sexual violence in an Afro-Nicaraguan community under counternarcotics military occupation vividly demonstrates this linkage. I argue that state sexual violence in this case has served as a mechanism for asserting mestizo state sovereignty in a minoritized security zone. The forms of racial and patriarchal power that enabled the violence permeate the social body and structure political life in Nicaragua, and their diffuse nature has made it difficult for local people to find political redress for the abuses of state power that occurred in their community. Politically engaged feminist ethnography can illuminate the relationship between state security projects, preexisting social hierarchies, and endemic forms of insecurity and violence that remain difficult to politicize in postwar Central America.

Topics: Economies, Gender, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Nicaragua

Year: 2015

A Composite Life History of a Mother in the Military: Storying Gendered Experiences


Taber, Nancy. 2013. “A Composite Life History of a Mother in the Military: Storying Gendered Experiences.” Women’s Studies International Forum 37 (March): 16–25. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2013.01.007.


In this article, I discuss a research project exploring the experiences of military mothers. First, I examine literature that investigates the organizational context of women and mothers in western militaries. Second, I relate my approach to life history methodology and the ways in which I story the experiences of my participants. Third, I present a composite narrative re-presenting the important events and themes in the stories my participants told of their lives. Fourth, I discuss my narrative analysis of the composite story and its implications as relates to literature about military women. I conclude that the composite story demonstrates the interconnections between motherhood and military membership. The composite story is a compelling example of how, despite societal gains and occasional exceptions, women continue to experience being pushed back towards traditional roles. Additionally, in order to understand the complexities of participant lives, it is important to recount as much of their narratives as is possible.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries

Year: 2013

Learning in a Militarized Context: Exploring Afghan Women’s Experiences of Higher Education in ‘Post-Conflict’ Afghanistan


Akseer, Spogmai. “Learning in a Militarized Context: Exploring Afghan Women’s Experiences of Higher Education in ‘Post-Conflict’ Afghanistan.” PhD diss., University of Toronto, 2015.

Author: Spogmai Akseer


This study examines the repercussions of the war on terror and subsequent occupation of Afghanistan, on the daily (gendered) life experiences of Afghan women. I argue that such wars are markers of the shifts in global capitalist accumulation processes, from exporting ‘goods’ to the Global South, to now exporting capitalism. Specifically, the war on terror is the latest manifestation of monopoly finance capitalism, which leverages wars and insecurity in the Global South as lucrative sites for accumulating profits and (re)investments. Democratic ideals provide a ‘moral’ justification for mass militarism, human rights violations, torture and erosion of existing social and economic inequalities. Notions of freedom, equality or classlessness, which are important objectives of formal democracy, as well, colonialist and racist ideologies of Others have become effective mechanisms forcapitalism to sustain and reproduce capitalist class relations. Education is an important site for socializing citizens toward accepting and participating as human capital in monopoly finance capitalism. Through the World Bank, higher education reforms in Afghanistan are endorsing neoliberal policies, even as these policies continue to contradict and exacerbate existing inequalities. Specifically, female education has become a key strategy in continued militarization and occupation in the country.
In this study, I examine the contradictory ways in which female university students navigate through an increasingly militarized, violent and patriarchal terrain. Guided by a transnational feminist approach and a dialectical historical materialist framework, 19 female university students from 5 public and private universities were interviewed in Afghanistan. Findings suggest that the university is a contradictory site where participants mobilize new and old strategies for addressing gendered constraints in their lives, while simultaneously creating new ones. The implications of these findings suggest a need for extensive institutional and ideological support for women’s learning, and also improving home-school connections. The participants’ desire to learn and their concerns over increasing violence and insecurity, reveal the militarized nature of their learning, as well, the possibility for critical and transformative learning against imperialism, patriarchy and class relations.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Education, Gender, Women, Men, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2015

The State of Female Youth in Northern Uganda: Findings From the Survey of War-Affected Youth (SWAY) Phase II

Citation: Annan, Jeannie, Christopher Blattman, Khristopher Carlson, and Dyan Mazurana. 2008. “The State of Female Youth in Northern Uganda: Findings from the Survey of War-Affected Youth (SWAY) Phase II.” II. Survey of War-Affected Youth. 


Authors: Jeannie Annan, Christopher Blattman, Khristopher Carlson, Dyan Mazurana


The Survey for War Affected Youth (SWAY) is a research program dedicated to evidence-based humanitarian aid and development. SWAY employs new data, tools, and analysis to improve the design and targeting of protection, assistance, and reintegration programs for youth in northern Uganda. Youth have been both the primary victims and the primary actors in the protracted war between the Government of Uganda (GoU) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). It is not clear, however, exactly who is suffering, how much, and in what ways. We also have little sense of the magnitude, incidence, and nature of the violence, trauma, and suffering of youth in northern Uganda. Our understanding of the effects of war on women and girls is especially lacking, whether they abducted or impacted in other ways. Government and NGO officials admit that they have little sense of the true scale of the problems facing young women and the proportion of females facing particular vulnerabilities. As a result, programming is based on immediate and observable needs and possibly erroneous assumptions about who requires assistance and what assistance they need. Likewise, with only rough measures of well-being available, targeting of services has been crude. The overarching purpose of SWAY is to work with service providers to generate better evidence-based programming. This report begins with a section describing methodology, before proceeding to theme-focused sections. As peace talks being brokered by the Government of Southern Sudan offer the prospect of an end to one of Africa’s longest conflicts, we conclude by offering specific recommendations to the GoU and international and local agencies operating in northern Uganda. (Executive Summary)

Topics: Age, Youth, Education, Gender, Women, Girls, Gendered Power Relations, Humanitarian Assistance, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2008

Where Women Rebel: Patterns of Women’s Participation in Armed Rebel Groups 1990-2008


Henshaw, Alexis Leanna. 2016. Where Women Rebel: Patterns of Women’s Participation in Armed Rebel Groups 1990-2008.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 18 (1): 39–60. doi:10.1080/14616742.2015.1007729.

Author: Alexis Leanna Henshaw


While a significant literature on women's participation in armed rebel groups exists, much of this work is focused on individual cases or regional comparisons among movements. This has led to a lack of cross-national work on women in insurgencies, and a limited understanding of the extent to which women are engaged in civil conflict internationally. This article introduces new data on women's involvement in seventy-two insurgencies active since 1990, and assesses the validity of several assumptions about women and rebellion drawn from existing literature on women in conflict and on civil wars generally. I show that women are active in rebel groups much more often than current scholarship acknowledges. This involvement includes frequent service in combat and leadership roles, where male participants are often presumed to be the default. Finally, while forced recruitment tactics are frequently used to bring women into service, much of their participation appears to be voluntary in nature.

Keywords: gender, civil conflict, terrorism, insurgency

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militias, Paramilitaries, Non-State Armed Groups, Terrorism

Year: 2016

Waging Gendered Wars: U.S. Military Women in Afghanistan and Iraq


Eager, Paige Whaley. 2014. Waging Gendered Wars: U.S. Military Women in Afghanistan and Iraq. New York: Routledge.

Author: Paige Whaley Eager


Waging Gendered Wars examines, through the analytical lens of feminist international relations theory, how U.S. military women have impacted and been affected by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although women were barred from serving formally in ground combat positions within the U.S. armed forces during both wars, U.S. female soldiers are being killed in action. By examining how U.S. military women's agency as soldiers, veterans, and casualties of war affect the planning and execution of war, Whaley Eager assesses the ways in which the global world of international politics and warfare has become localized in the life and death narratives of female service personnel impacted by combat experience, homelessness, military sexual trauma, PTSD, and the deaths of fellow soldiers.

Keywords: politics & international relations, gender politics, political philosophy, U.S. politics, security studies, war & conflict studies

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Health, PTSD, Trauma, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Security

Year: 2014

Drone Disorientations: How "Unmanned" Weapons Queer the Experience of Killing in War


Daggett, Cara. 2015. “Drone Disorientations: How ‘Unmanned’ Weapons Queer the Experience of Killing in War.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17 (3): 361–79. doi:10.1080/14616742.2015.1075317.

Author: Cara Daggett


Killing with drones produces queer moments of disorientation. Drawing on queer phenomenology, I show how militarized masculinities function as spatiotemporal landmarks that give killing in war its “orientation” and make it morally intelligible. These bearings no longer make sense for drone warfare, which radically deviates from two of its main axes: the home–combat and distance–intimacy binaries. Through a narrative methodology, I show how descriptions of drone warfare are rife with symptoms of an unresolved disorientation, often expressed as gender anxiety over the failure of the distance–intimacy and home–combat axes to orient killing with drones. The resulting vertigo sparks a frenzy of reorientation attempts, but disorientation can lead in multiple and sometimes surprising directions – including, but not exclusively, more violent ones. With drones, the point is that none have yet been reliably secured, and I conclude by arguing that, in the midst of this confusion, it is important not to lose sight of the possibility of new paths, and the “hope of new directions.”

Keywords: drones, militarized masculinities, queer phenomenology, robotic war, narrative

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, LGBTQ, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Violence

Year: 2015


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