Does War Transform Gender Roles and Gender Equality Agenda? Women’s Mobilization in Armed Conflict
From Ceyanna Meroniuk
In recent wars, women’s participation in armed conflict has grown substantially. There is much debate on why women join armed conflict. Some argue women are fascinated with armed groups' emancipation and freedom ideologies. Others suggest women are motivated by loyalty, seeking protection, or taking revenge. Few studies have shown how war advances gender roles. War is a gendered process, yet less is known about how war is a women’s issue, how women's mobilization in wars shifts war’s agenda, and how women’s participation influences gender norms in war and postwar settings. Drawing on my Ph.D. research on Nepal’s civil war (called by the Maoist rebel group) and women ex-combatants, I will present how the Maoist war shapes gender roles and relationships and how this (re) structure gender norms, intersectionality, and gender equality in the post-war context of Nepal. The study contributes to gender and armed conflict and feminist security studies. This study calls for a deeper engagement of women ex-combatants in the transition to peace to ensure women's rights and security in the postwar era.