Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Veale, Angela
2005 January
Invisible Stakeholders: Children and war in
Collective and individual identities: experiences of recruitment and reintegration of female excombatants of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Army, Ethiopia
Institute of Security Studies
Pretoria Institute of Security Studies.
Optional Fields
Tigrean People’s Liberation Army Child soldiers Girl soldiers Ethiopia Female ex-combatants,
Increasingly, girls and women play important roles in fighting forces. McKay and Mazurana2 argue that involvement in military units can both oppress girls and women as they are responsible for traditional female roles of cooking, cleaning and serving men, but can also expand their opportunities for greater equality and participation as fighters. An understanding of the dynamics that shape the identities of men and women in fighting forces is often lacking at the point of demobilisation and reintegration. In particular, demobilisation programmes frequently overlook the specific needs of females.3 If their needs are taken into account at all, it is as a set of ‘add-on’ considerations related to motherhood or reproductive health. Brautigam argues, “Gender equality cannot be achieved by treating women and men identically, or through protective measures for women alone. Identical treatment ignores women’s and men’s different social realities and gendered roles”.4 This suggests the need for a thorough analysis of gendered roles, how participation in fighting forces transforms these roles for women and the social and political implications of these transformations. This chapter explores the identity transformations experienced by women who were recruited as children to fight with the Tigrean People’s Liberation Army and demobilised as adults in 1992/1993. The fieldwork for this study was carried out in 2002, ten years after their demobilisation and reintegration. The interviews explored gender-specific issues facing young women in demobilisation and reintegration, the impact of having been an ex-combatant on women’s social relationships and how being part of the military impacted on constructions of the self as female in the fighting forces and at reintegration.
McIntyre, Angela
Grant Details