Engendering Genocide: Gender, Conflict and Violence

  • Citation: Gangoli, Geetanjali. “Engendering Genocide: Gender, Conflict and Violence.” Women's Studies International Forum 29, no. 5 (2006): 534–38.
    • Topics:
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • armed conflict
    • feminisms
    • gender
    • masculinity
    • gender analysis
    • femininity
    • gendered discourses
    • gender-based violence

Thematic connections between gender, conflict and violence are significant areas of enquiry in recent times. Engendering conflict has been of some concern to academics, given the context of national and international conflict in areas as diverse as Bosnia, Iraq, India, the UK and the USA. The conflicts have taken forms as varied as internal conflicts between religious and ethnic communities in different parts of the world, acts of aggression against sovereign states, terrorist attacks and the global ‘war against terror’, the stigmatisation and demonisation of the Muslim community. All these factors impact on, and are impacted by gender. This review article will focus on some themes emerging from three fascinating studies that look at these issues   in different contexts. The International Initiative for Justice in Gujarat study (henceforth IIJG) examines the impact of the communal anti-Muslim program on women in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2003; while Giles and Hyndman’s book addresses issues of gender and conflict internationally, links between global, national and domestic violence against women and the continuum of violence running through social, economic, political with gender relations permeating all those relationships–interpersonal, international and financial–and the role of women in perpetuating violence against women in all these contexts. Adam Jones’ book addresses the issue of ‘men as victims’ of male violence during war and conflict, and suggests that the invisibilisation of ‘gendercide’ against men in war and conflict situations raises issues of concern. Some of the issues that I will be addressing here are: the use and abuse of women’s bodies in conflict and peacetime, the complicity of women in perpetrating violence against women and the gendered continuum of violence running from the personal to the international; the home to the battleground. In addition I will be addressing issues of male (and female) violence against men in the context of war and conflict and what that tells us about conflict and gender. Finally I will address the troubled question of how feminisms are to respond to ‘men as victims’ and ‘women as perpetrators’ of violence.