Duty and Defiance: Women in Community-based Armed Groups in West Africa

Authored by: Jakana Thomas

Categories: Human Rights, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Countering Violent Extremism, Democratization and Political Participation, Peacemaking, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Violent Extremism
Region: No Region
Year: 2021
Citation: Thomas, Jakana. "Duty and Defiance: Women in Community-based Armed Groups in West Africa." RESOLVE Network. March 2021.

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Executive Summary

This desk report explores how West African community-based armed groups (CBAGs) facilitate women’s engagement with politics, create avenues for female expressions of anger, commitment to community values and national identity, and enable women to push for change in their communities by opening spaces for female participation. According to Agbiboa, CBAGs include security-oriented organizations such as hunter associations, vigilante groups, militias and gangs that protect communities from “petty crimes to insurgencies.” Assessing the formal and informal contributions women make to armed community mobilization and hybrid security reveals opportunities for gender-specific engagement, and cautions that unidimensional considerations of where and how women intersect with conflict and security have the potential to undermine violence reduction and post-conflict peacebuilding efforts.