Why Women Rebel: Understanding Female Participation in Intrastate Conflict
AuthorHenshaw, Alexis Leanna
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractStudies indicating that women as leaders and negotiators have a pacifying effect on interstate conflict stand in contrast to the reality of women's active involvement in civil conflict through armed rebel groups and insurgencies. This dissertation seeks to provide insight into this apparent paradox by analyzing how and why women become involved in rebel groups, drawing on insights from feminist and IR theories to create a gendered theory of rebellion. Hypotheses developed from this theory are examined using new data on women's participation in rebel groups from 1990-2008. These tests are supplemented with qualitative analysis focusing on the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador. Among the findings, data on rebel organizations in the post-Cold War era show that women are active in over half of all armed insurgencies, a level of activity much greater than what is recognized by current scholarship in international relations. The analysis also indicates that economic and ethnic- or religious-based grievance motivates women's participation, but disputes theories that portray rebels as profit- or power-seekers.
Degree ProgramGraduate College