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Non-state Armed Groups

Sister Citizens: Women in Syrian Rebel Governance

Citation:

Gilbert, Victoria. 2020. “Sister Citizens: Women in Syrian Rebel Governance.” Politics & Gender, 1–28. doi:10.1017/S1743923X20000136.

Author: Victoria Gilbert

Abstract:

In the rich literature on women and conflict, many scholars have assumed that the outbreak of civil war suppresses women’s political involvement. However, during Syria’s civil war, there was significant subnational and temporal variation in the involvement of women in the institutions established by armed groups and civilians in rebel-held areas. Why were some Syrian women able to secure a place for themselves in insurgent governance? How were they able to influence the form of local institutions to secure a role for women? Bringing together the scholarship on social movements and rebel governance, this article argues that two factors determine whether women were able to mobilize politically during conflict: the organizational capacity of women and the strength and ideology of locally active armed groups. The article leverages data on local organizations and institutions in Syria, Syrian news sources, and correspondence with several women’s organizations operating in Syria in 2017. By doing so, this article strives to bring attention to the role of gender in the expanding literature on rebel governance. It also highlights the significance of armed groups’ ideologies, an aspect often dismissed in the literature in favor of a focus on material factors.

Keywords: gender, rebel, rebel governance, insurgent governance, civil war, conflict, institutions, Syria, conflict processes, comparative politics, women, middle east, institutional design

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Conflict, Gender, Women, Governance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups, Political Participation Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2020

Women on the Frontline: Rebel Group Ideology and Women’s Participation in Violent Rebellion

Citation:

Wood, Reed M., and Jakana L. Thomas. 2017. “Women on the Frontline: Rebel Group Ideology and Women’s Participation in Violent Rebellion.” Journal of Peace Research 54 (1): 31–46.

Authors: Reed M. Wood, Jakana L. Thomas

Abstract:

Despite the frequent participation of women in armed groups, few studies have sought to explain the variation in their roles across different rebellions. Herein, we investigate this variation. We argue that the political ideology a group adopts plays a central role in determining the extent of women’s participation, particularly their deployment in combat roles. Specifically, we link variations in women’s roles in armed groups to differences in beliefs about gender hierarchies and gender-based divisions of labor inherent in the specific ideologies the groups adopt. We evaluate hypotheses drawn from these arguments using a novel cross-sectional dataset on female combatants in a global sample of rebel organizations active between 1979 and 2009. We find that the presence of a Marxist-oriented ‘leftist’ ideology increases the prevalence of female fighters while Islamist ideologies exert the opposite effect. However, we find little evidence that nationalism exerts an independent influence on women’s combat roles. We also note a general inverse relationship between group religiosity and the prevalence of female fighters. Our analysis demonstrates that political ideology plays a central role in determining whether and to what extent resistance movements incorporate female fighters into their armed wings.

Keywords: female combatants, rebel ideology, rebellion

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups, Rights, Religion

Year: 2017

Depicting Victims, Heroines, and Pawns in the Syrian Uprising

Citation:

Szanto, Edith. 2016. “Depicting Victims, Heroines, and Pawns in the Syrian Uprising.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 12 (3): 306–22.

Author: Edith Szanto

Abstract:

During the onslaught of the Islamic caliphate on Kobanî, Syria, media outlets across the globe broadcast pictures of brave and often unveiled Kurdish women fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a quintessentially male force of destruction. The images of women fighting Islamist male aggressors aroused outrage, admiration, and pity among observers. But had all Kurdish fighters been male or had women fought for ISIS, viewers might have reacted differently. To examine some of the most widely disseminated gendered pictures and videos of the Syrian uprising in the media, this article draws on Mohja Kahf’s three categories, which typify how Muslim women, Arab women, or both are perceived by the Anglophone reading and viewing public: the first is victims; the second, escapees; and the third, pawns of patriarchy and male power. While this typology helps in examining gendered images of the Syrian uprising, it also obscures the socioeconomic realities on the ground.

Keywords: female fighters, media, Syrian uprising

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2016

Why Women Rebel: Greed, Grievance, and Women in Armed Rebel Groups

Citation:

Henshaw, Alexis Leanna. 2016. “Why Women Rebel: Greed, Grievance, and Women in Armed Rebel Groups.” Journal of Global Security Studies 1 (3): 204–19.

Author: Alexis Leanna Henshaw

Abstract:

Many scholars have sought to understand what drives recruitment in armed rebel groups. While theories focused on grievance and selective incentives have been the subject of a robust body of scholarship, large-N work in this area tends to focus primarily on male recruits, and often utilizes measures that fail to account for the differing motivations of male and female rebels. Moreover, existing studies of the motives of female rebels have been regionally focused or concentrated on a single case—calling into question whether the findings are consistent across the global population of females in armed rebel groups. Drawing on a data set measuring women’s participation in seventy-two active rebel groups since 1990, this work seeks to test hypotheses drawn from prior research to explain why women rebel. These tests indicate that some trends noted by previous researchers have explanatory power. Particularly, economic and ethnic or religious grievances are motivating factors that drive women to take up arms. At the same time, though, these findings cast doubt on the salience of other motivating factors, such as selective incentives and a desire for political participation.

Keywords: insurgency, civil wars, gender

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

Year: 2016

Women, Gender, and the Evolving Tactics of Boko Haram

Citation:

Zenn, Jacob, and Elizabeth Pearson. 2014. "Women, Gender, and the Evolving Tactics of Boko Haram." Journal of Terrorism Research 5 (1): 46-57.

Authors: Jacob Zenn, Elizabeth Pearson

Abstract:

This article addresses an under-researched aspect of Boko Haram’s activities: gender-based violence (GBV) and its targeting of women. It argues that 2013 marked a significant evolution in Boko Haram’s tactics, with a series of kidnappings, in which one of the main features was the instrumental use of women. This was in response to corresponding tactics by the Nigerian security forces. Additionally the analysis provides evidence of a shift by Boko Haram to include women in its operations, in response to increased pressure on male operatives. It also considers the gendered rationale for instrumentalizing women within the framework of Boko Haram’s ideology and culture, arguing for a greater appreciation of how gender factors in the group’s violence.

Keywords: Boko Haram, terrorism, radicalisation, kidnapping, tactics, gender, women

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Gender Roles, Gender-Based Violence, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups, Terrorism, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2014

Violence, Toleration, or Inclusion? Exploring Variation in the Experiences of LGBT Combatants in Colombia

Citation:

Thylin, Theresia. 2020. "Violence, Toleration, or Inclusion? Exploring Variation in the Experiences of LGBT Combatants in Colombia." Sexualities 23 (3): 445-64.

Author: Theresia Thylin

Abstract:

While scholars have started to pay increased attention to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons serving in state security forces, little is known of the experiences of LGBT combatants operating in non-state armed groups in conflict settings. This article explores the experiences of LGBT persons from three different armed groups in Colombia. While LGBT combatants are often in a highly vulnerable position, this article reveals large differences between armed groups, as well as important exceptions within groups that contribute to LGBT combatants’ varied experiences. In conclusion, I argue that understanding these variations in LGBT combatants’ experiences has important policy and programme implications and provides opportunities for more inclusive peacebuilding processes in Colombia and beyond.

Keywords: armed conflict, Colombia, combatants, FARC, LGBT

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Gender, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups, Peacebuilding, Sexuality Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2020

Female Fighters: Why Rebel Groups Recruit Women for War

Citation:

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

Author: Reed M. Wood

Annotation:

Summary:
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:
Introduction

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

Women and 'New Wars' in El Salvador

Citation:

Applebaum, Anna, and Briana Mawby. 2018. “Women and ‘New Wars’ in El Salvador.” Stability: International Journal of Security & Development 7 (1): 1-15.

Authors: Anna Applebaum, Briana Mawby

Abstract:

The most violent countries in the world are increasingly countries considered ‘at peace’. From Honduras to Mexico to South Africa, armed violence, often by gangs, has led to high levels of casualties. Disruption of daily life due to armed violence is similar to the challenges experienced during wartime, though often without the markers or recognition associated with war. With gang violence primarily viewed as a domestic criminal issue, external support for conflict mitigation and humanitarian assistance is often low. Yet the disruptive impact of such high rates of violence is significant, and the humanitarian impact is severe. New theoretical frameworks are needed to better problematize extreme armed violence in ‘peacetime’ states. This article seeks to bring an understanding of the severity of armed violence in states such as El Salvador into engagement with the critical and theoretical foundations of the women, peace and security (WPS) field. Gendered dynamics shape gang violence in El Salvador, and a gender lens helps reimagine its impact. Aligning critical theory with the lived experience of this subset of armed conflict allows new directions for engagement and, in particular, offers the opportunity to re-examine long-standing assumptions of what initiates, maintains, and challenges armed violence by non-state actors in communities considered ‘at peace.’ This article seeks to encourage greater debate and scholarship to inform our understandings of armed conflict and gender in communities affected by gang violence, such as those in El Salvador. In these communities, the level of violence often replicates the experiences of war, and thus a WPS lens is a critical tool for analysis. 

Topics: Armed Conflict, "New Wars", Gender, Humanitarian Assistance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: El Salvador

Year: 2018

De mujer combatiente a mujer constructora de paz. Inclusión de la voz feminina en el escenario del posacuerdo

Citation:

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

Abstract:

SPANISH ABSTRACT:
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.
 
ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
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

Genderization and Links with Illegal Armed Groups in Colombia

Citation:

Onofre, Darío Reynaldo Muñoz. 2014. "Genderization and Links with Illegal Armed Groups in Colombia." In Psychosocial Approaches to Peace-Building in Colombia, edited by Stella Sacipa-Rodriguez and Maritza Montero, 121-36. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Author: Darîo Reynaldo Muñoz

Abstract:

This chapter presents qualitative research results on the relationship between gender socialization (genderization) and the joining of illegal armed groups in Colombia, through narratives of 21 male and 13 female ex-combatant guerrillas and paramilitaries, obtained through focus groups, in-depth interviews, and field diaries. The analytical perspective includes: constructionist social psychology, the theory of gender performativity and perspectives from technologies of the self. The results show how certain gender patterns normalized during infancy socialization have a bearing on the future possibility of joining armed groups. They also show how participation in these groups strengthens belligerent subjectivities. The conclusions suggest psychosocial keys for disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration processes, from an ethical–political perspective which combines gender and cultures of peace.

Keywords: gender patterns, gender socialization, guerrillas, para-military troops, demobilization, disarmament, reintegration, children, ethical-political perspective

Topics: Combatants, DDR, Gender, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Paramilitaries, Non-state Armed Groups, Peacebuilding Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2014

Pages

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