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Military Forces & Armed Groups

Female Combatants in Postconflict Processes: Understanding the Roots of Exclusion

Citation:

Henshaw, Alexis Leanna. 2020. "Female Combatants in Postconflict Settings: Understanding the Roots of Exclusion." Journal of Global Security Studies 5 (1): 63-79. 

Author: Alexis Leanna Henshaw

Abstract:

Research on contemporary internal armed conflicts has consistently shown that women are active in most armed insurgencies, in groups with varied ideologies, and in every region of the world. However, scholarship from feminist security studies shows that, not only are women still generally underrepresented in peace processes, but women affiliated with rebel groups in particular are more likely to be excluded from disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) efforts. Closing this gap is a necessary next step for improving the security of women. This article draws on feminist theory and feminist security studies literature to highlight four factors that contribute to the exclusion of insurgent women from DDR efforts: attributions of agency, gendered hierarchy within groups, the tendency to collapse complex intersectionalities, and the pressure for patriarchal reordering after conflict. Drawing on selected cases, I illustrate each of these factors at work and discuss the implications for female ex-combatants, policy-makers, and scholars.

Keywords: gender, DDR, civil conflict, feminist security studies

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peace and Security, Post-Conflict, Peace Processes, Security

Year: 2020

The Politics of Gender and Reconstruction in Afghanistan

Citation:

United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). 2005. The Politics of Gender and Reconstruction in Afghanistan. Geneva: United Nations. 

Author: Deniz Kandiyoti

Annotation:

Summary:
“The central objective of this paper is to put the discussion of women’s rights in Afghanistan in the context of the multiple transitions entailed by the process of post-conflict reconstruction: a security transition (from war to peace), a political transition (to the formation of a legitimate and effective state) and a socioeconomic transition (from a “conflict” economy to sustainable growth). These transformations do not occur in a social vacuum but build upon existing societal arrangements that condition and limit the range of available opportunities.

The first section contextualizes current attempts at securing women’s rights in the troubled history of state-building and state-society relations in Afghanistan. The latter were marked by tensions between a rentier state bolstered by foreign subsidies, which had a relatively weak engagement with society, and a rural hinterland that both resisted the incursions of the state and attempted to represent tribal interests within it. Attempts at modernization, including the expansion of women’s rights, were instigated by a male state elite whose bids to centralize power were thwarted at various junctures. The issue of women’s rights was used as a bargaining counter in contests between social forces whose geopolitical entanglements produced sharp swings of the pendulum between extremes such as the Soviet backed socialist experiment under the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) and the Islamist policies of the Pakistani-backed Taliban. However, in a context where the state’s interface with local communities, whether in terms of the legal framework, revenue collection or service delivery, was always limited, attempts to analyse women’s rights with reference only to government policies suffer from serious shortcomings. It is, rather, to the profound transformations brought about by years of protracted conflict that one must look for a better appraisal of obstacles to and opportunities for more genderequitable development in Afghanistan.

The second section discusses the implications of the far-reaching changes in social relations brought about by years of war and displacement following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. A predominantly rural country whose population achieved relatively self-sufficient livelihoods was transformed into a fragmented polity where a significant proportion of the economy is based on illicit, criminalized networks of trade in drugs (opium poppy, in particular) and commodities such as timber and emeralds, smuggling of goods and human trafficking. The central argument put forward in this section is that routine violations of women’s rights in Afghanistan are determined by analytically distinct but overlapping and mutually reinforcing sets of influences: the dynamics of gendered disadvantage, the erosion of local livelihoods and growing poverty, the criminalization of the economy, and insecurity due to the predations of armed groups and factions. Particular combinations of new pressures (such as poverty, indebtedness and predation by local strongmen) and existing practices (such as the early marriage of girls against the payment of brideprice) create outcomes that may easily be misidentified as unmediated expressions of local “culture”, thus detracting critical attention from the full nexus of influences that deepen the vulnerability of girls and women.

The third section focuses on processes of institutional development and reform since the Bonn Agreement in 2001.The national machinery set up for the advancement of women consists of: the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA); the Office of the State Minister for Women (OSMOW), set up to provide policy guidance with particular reference to legislative and judicial reform processes; the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), tasked with the advancement of women’s rights under one of its five programme areas; and the Gender Advisory Group (GAG), a donor-government co-ordination body that assists in formulating a national framework and budget for gender mainstreaming. The most tangible gains so far have been achieved in the area of legal rights, which were enshrined in the new Constitution of January 2004 and provide legal guarantees for women’s equality as citizens and for their political representation. Many unresolved questions remain concerning the respective roles of Islamic and tribal laws and the stipulations of international treaties to which the government is a signatory (such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women/CEDAW which was ratified without reservations in March 2003). Without a process of consensus-building through political normalization and reconciliation, the risk that women’s rights will be held hostage to factional politics remains high. The expansion of women’s formal rights cannot, in any case, translate into substantive benefits in the absence of security and the rule of law. Moreover, women’s formal rights to civic participation may have limited impact in a context where they remain wards of their households and communities and where their most basic entitlements to education and health continue to be denied.

The conclusion draws attention to crippling disjunctures between different facets of post-conflict transition. Legal and governance reforms have advanced at a faster pace than has been achieved in the security sector or the transition to sustainable livelihoods. There is also a disjuncture between, on the one hand, the time frames adopted and outputs expected by international actors driving the women’s rights agenda, and on the other, the length of time required for non-cosmetic changes in societal relations to develop as a result of peace-building. Since the issue of women’s rights continues to occupy a highly politicized and sensitive place in the struggles between contending political factions in Afghanistan, this disjuncture may itself produce unintended effects, with disempowering consequences for women.” (Kandiyoti 2005, vi)

Topics: Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Girls, Gendered Power Relations, Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peace and Security, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Women's Rights, Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2005

Leading the Operationalisation of WPS

Citation:

Hutchinson, Susan. 2018. "Leading the Operationalisation of WPS." Security Challenges 14 (2): 124-43.

Author: Susan Hutchinson

Annotation:

Summary:
"This paper considers how an intervening security force can implement the relevant components of the suite of United Nations Security Council resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). The analytical framework of the paper is a generic operational cycle comprised of preplanning, planning, conduct, and transition. Specific tasks identified in the resolutions are organised in this generic operational cycle. The tasks are those commonly led by security forces, or directed by government, and include: conflict analysis or intelligence; deliberate planning; force structure; population protection; female engagement; support to the rule of law; security sector reform; and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration. This paper focuses on the experiences of the Australian Defence Force, with additional examples from militaries of Canada, Ireland, Sweden and the United States as well as organisational experiences from NATO and the United Nations. The paper draws on operations including, but not limited to, in Afghanistan, Rwanda, Yugoslavia and East Timor. Overall, the paper makes a unique contribution to the military operationalisation of the WPS agenda" (Hutchinson 2018, 124).

Topics: Armed Conflict, DDR, Gender, Women, Governance, International Organizations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Security, Security Sector Reform, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Americas, North America, Asia, South Asia, Europe, Balkans, Nordic states, Northern Europe, Western Europe, Oceania Countries: Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Rwanda, Sweden, Timor-Leste, United States of America, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2018

Sexual Violence, Masculinity, and Agency in Post-Surrender Japan, 1945

Citation:

Kramm, Robert. 2019. "Sexual Violence, Masculinity, and Agency in Post-Surrender Japan, 1945." Journal of Women's History 31 (1): 62-85.

Author: Robert Kramm

Abstract:

In the immediate post-surrender period in late summer 1945, thousands of American servicemen entered Japan. Despite Japanese authorities’ tactical planning of a “female floodwall” with brothels and other recreational facilities to distract the occupiers from the Japanese population, especially from Japanese women, and the occupiers’ demonstration of military power, the first physical encounter of occupiers and occupied in the “militarized peace” of occupied Japan was nevertheless accompanied by violence—sexual violence in particular. Contrary to the often-portrayed peaceful image of the American occupation of Japan, this article highlights sex and violence as significant markers for the asymmetrical power relations during the occupation period. It analyzes the arena of sexual violence in which Japanese police officers and administrators, as well as Japanese civilians, struggled to prevent and control, but also to articulate and instrumentalize, the occupiers’ sexual assaults.

Topics: Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Livelihoods, Sexual livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan

Year: 2019

Why Now? Timing Rebel Recruitment of Female Combatants

Citation:

Israelsen, Shelli. 2020. "Why Now? Timing Rebel Recruitment of Female Combatants." Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 43 (2): 123-44.

Author: Shelli Israelsen

Abstract:

Using case study evidence, this article demonstrates how the relationship between conflict intensity, gender inclusive ideologies and gender inclusive policies on one hand, and the decision to recruit female combatants on the other hand, is conditioned by the groups' conflict phase. Conflict phases divide conflict events into two distinct parts, the guerrilla activity phase and the civil war phase, contingent on the insurgents' number of armed fighters, military capabilities, level of institutionalization and degree of territorial control. These conflict phases affect the recruitment behavior of insurgent groups making them more likely to recruit female combatants in the civil war phase and less likely to do so in the guerrilla activity phase.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Conflict, Gender, Military Forces & Armed Groups

Year: 2020

Women's Resistance in Violent Settings: Infrapolitical Strategies in Brazil and Colombia

Citation:

Veillette, Anne-Marie, and Priscyll Anctil Avoine. 2020. "Women’s Resistance in Violent Settings: Infrapolitical Strategies in Brazil and Colombia." In Re-writing Women as Victims: From Theory to Practice, edited by María José Gámez Fuentes, Sonia Núñez Puente, and Emma Gómez Nicolau, 53-67. New York: Routledge. 

Authors: Anne-Marie Veillete, Priscyll Anctil Avoine

Abstract:

The reflections compiled in this chapter emerge from two fieldwork investigations conducted in Brazil (2016) and Colombia (2015) (Anctil Avoine, 2017; Veillette, 2018). The first one, carried out in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, aims at understanding and analysing the nature and the impacts of police violence, as well as resistances emerging in this context, based on women’s testimonies. The second one has been implemented in collaboration with the Colombian Agency for Reintegration and pursued the objective of analysing the narratives of female ex-combatants in order to propose new strategies for gender perspectives in reintegration. In both cases, women are confronted with high levels of violence, oppression and forms of marginalisation: however, they challenge the traditional view of women as victims in these contexts as they develop their own strategies for survival and political action.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Brazil, Colombia

Year: 2020

The Impact of Militarization on Gender Inequality and Female Labor Force Participation

Citation:

Elveren, Adem, and Valentine M. Moghadam. 2019. “The Impact of Militarization on Gender Inequality and Female Labor Force Participation.” Economic Research Forum Working Paper 1307, Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg.

Authors: Adem Elveren, Valentine M. Moghadam

Abstract:

Feminist research has revealed significant relationships between militarization, patriarchy, and gender inequality. This paper takes that research forward through an empirical analysis of the impact of militarization on gender inequality and on women’s participation in the labor market. Using the Gender Inequality Index and the Global Militarization Index for the period of 1990-2017 for 133 countries, the paper shows that higher militarization is significantly correlated with higher gender inequality and lower level of female labor force participation rate, controlling for major variables such as conflict, democracy level, regime type, fertility rate, and urbanization rate. The results are significant in the case of Islam and MENA countries, and with respect to countries with different income levels.

Keywords: militarization, military expenditure, democracy, Islam, gender inequality

Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Economies, Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, Reproductive Health, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Livelihoods, Religion Regions: MENA

Year: 2019

Understanding Women at War: A Mixed-Methods Exploration of Leadership in Non-State Armed Groups

Citation:

Henshaw, Alexis, June Eric-Udorie, Hannah Godefa, Kathryn Howley, Cat Jeon, Elise Sweezy, and Katheryn Zhao. 2019. "Understanding Women at War: A Mixed-methods Exploration of Leadership in Non-state Armed Groups." Small Wars & Insurgencies: Gender, Insurgency and Terrorism 30 (6-7): 1089-116.

Authors: Alexis Henshaw, June Eric-Udorie, Hannah Godefa, Kathryn Howley, Cat Jeon, Elise Sweezy, Katheryn Zhao

Abstract:

Recent efforts aimed at understanding women’s contributions to nonstate armed groups have produced large-scale data sets on female combatants (Wood and Thomas 2017) and more limited data on women’s roles as supporters and leaders in armed groups (Henshaw 2016; 2017, Loken 2018). The present study aims to build on this literature by providing new data on the scope of women’s leadership in insurgent groups. While existing quantitative literature has focused mostly on the experience of female combatants, we argue that the presence of women in leadership roles is crucial to understanding how gender might influence the outcomes of insurgency. We introduce new data on over 200 insurgent groups active since World War II. While our analysis confirms earlier small-sample work demonstrating women’s presence in leadership roles, a qualitative analysis reveals that leadership is often gendered–revealing patterns of tokenization and tracking women to low-prestige leadership roles. At the same time, our findings challenge past research on jihadist organizations, showing limited expansion in the authority of women.

Keywords: civil conflict, civil war, gender, women, insurgency, terrorism, rebellion, leadership

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Conflict, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups

Year: 2019

Fostering Solidarity for Gender/Ethnic Reincorporation: the Experience of Female Indigenous Ex-Combatants in Tierra Grata, Cesar

Citation:

Santamaría, Ángela, and Fallon Hernández. 2020. "Fostering Solidarity for Gender/Ethnic Reincorporation: The Experience of Female Indigenous Ex-combatants in Tierra Grata, Cesar." Journal of Gender Studies 29, (2): 117-29.

Authors: Ángela Santamaría, Fallon Hernández

Abstract:

This investigation was developed during the first stage of the implementation of the peace accords in the Transit Normalization Hamlet Zone (TNHZ) of Tierra Grata, Cesar, Colombia in 2017. Through interviews, discussions and ethnographic observation, we reconstructed the trajectories of two indigenous women who contributed to the ethnic reincorporation of female Fuerza Autónoma Revolucionaria del Común (FARC) ex-combatants on a micro-local level. Most ex-combatants are entangled in strong patriarchal ties and have encountered myriad difficulties on their path towards reincorporation. This work seeks to answer the following questions: Who are the main actors of the local reincorporation process? What are their personal trajectories? What are indigenous women's main difficulties with reincorporation from an ethnic and gender perspective in Tierra Grata?

Keywords: reincorporation, FARC, Colombia, indigenous women, ex-combatants

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Indigenous Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2020

What’s to Come Is More Complicated: Feminist Visions of Peace in Colombia

Citation:

Paarlberg-Kvam, Kate. 2019. “What’s to Come Is More Complicated: Feminist Visions of Peace in Colombia.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 21 (2): 194–223.

Author: Kate Paarlberg-Kvam

Abstract:

The years following the Colombian Congress’ 2016 approval of peace accords with the country’s oldest and largest guerrilla army have brought into stark relief Cynthia Enloe’s assertion that “wars don’t simply end, and wars don’t end simply.” As Colombia and the international community grapple with the complexity of constructing a society at peace, it is essential to listen to Colombian feminists’ visions of what a true and lasting peace would look like. While the feminist gains evinced by the accords represent a significant step forward, my research with feminist peace networks during the negotiations points to a still broader vision of peace that has not yet been embodied by the accords or their implementation. I argue that the antimilitarist, antineoliberal and antipatriarchal peace envisioned by feminist activists is more comprehensive, more transformative and more stable than that contained in the accords, and offer predictions of how feminists might pursue their vision in the post-accords reality.

Keywords: Colombia, demilitarization, FARC-EP, feminism, peace negotiation

Topics: Economies, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2019

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