Young Female Fighters in African Wars

Conflict and Its Consequences

Authored by: Chris Coulter, Mariam Persson, and Mats Utas

Categories: Human Rights, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), National Security Forces and Armed Groups, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2008
Citation: Coulter, Chris, Mariam Persson, and Mats Utas. Young Female Fighters in African Wars: Conflict and Its Consequences. Uppsala, Sweden: The Nordic Africa Institute, 2008.

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Executive Summary

The intention in this text is to provide policymakers and aid practitioners with a state-of-the-art overview of the situation for young women in African war and post-war situations. The report provides an overview of women’s participation in armed forces in conflicts in Africa, followed by information on girls and women in armed forces and rebel groups. The report inquires into the various status positions of women in fighting forces, the role of women in providing labor for fighting forces, and the issues of rape and sexual exploitation. It then discusses specific issues of demobilization within DDR programmes by scrutinizing some of the programmes and policies that underlie the implementation of demobilization in African countries. It aims to identify skills and strengths acquired by these women and girls through their experiences of war and in armed forces, and whether and how war shapes and changes gender roles and discuss whether new social and political spaces for young women are opened and maintained in post-war settings. It devotes a special section to related questions of experiences of shame and social stigma that have direct consequences for successful reintegration and also acknowledges the frequent security hazards that young women experience in many post-war settings.