From Helplessness to Agency: Examining the Plurality of Women’s Experiences in Armed Conflict

Authored by: Medina Haeri and Nadine Puechguirbal

Categories: Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Human Development, National Security Forces and Armed Groups, Peacemaking
Region: No Region
Year: 2010
Citation: Haeri, Medina and Nadine Puechguirbal. "From Helplessness to Agency: Examining the Plurality of Women's Experiences in Armed Conflict." International Review of the Red Cross 92, no. 877 (2010): 103-122.

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Although women routinely display remarkable resilience and fortitude by adopting new roles and taking on new responsibilities when confronted by the ravages of war, they continue to be depicted by many humanitarian actors as being intrinsically weak and vulnerable – a depiction that results in the perceptible absence of women from decision-making bodies both during and in the wake of conflict. This article argues for the need to consider the plurality of women’s experiences in war, including as female heads of households, as victims (and survivors) of sexual violence, as community leaders, and as armed combatants.