WPF Senior Fellow, Dyan Mazurana just published a review of  Shekhawat, Seema (ed), Female Combatants in Conflict and Peace: Challenging Gender in Violence and Post-Conflict Reintegration  (2015, Palgrave Macmillan) in the Journal of Women, Politics and Policy. Below is an excerpt, the full review is available on the journal’s site.

Female Combatants in Conflict and Peace: Challenging Gender in Violence and Post-ConflictReintegration, edited by Seema Shekhawat, provides a rich look at the expectations and experiences of women and girls in armed groups in Colombia, El Salvador, India, Kashmir, Nepal, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Syria, and state forces in Israel.Well situated within each particular context, the case studies explore the reasons for womens and girlsparticipation as combatants, their experiences of gender (in)equality and violence inside the armed groups, and how they are situated in the post-conflict context, particularly for the emancipation and futures they had hoped to obtain.

In her opening chapter, Shekhawat challenges the reader to consider what female excombatants can offer in constructing a more peaceful and equitable post-conflict society. Several authors, including Shekhawat and Bishnu Pathak, go so far as to say that by virtue of being female ex-combatants, these women have a right to participate in peace processes. This surprised me. While readers are likely familiar with the mounting evidence of the significant benefits of womens meaningful inclusion to peace processes, those women are not usually (almost ever?) ex-combatants. Rather, the women making a real difference in peace and in peace and political processes are often women civil society actors who have used peaceful means to try and address the havoc wreaked by the conflict, as well as national civilian women in positions of political power or leverage. I was, therefore, intrigued by Shekhawats and her contributorsstrong assertions that we should look to ex-combatant women to offer something important to sharpen our understanding of and engagement with post-conflict societies.

They were right, and here is what we can learn.[…]

Access the full review here.

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