Peace as Disappointment: The Reintegration of Female Soldiers in Post-Conflict Societies: A Comparative Study from Africa

PRIO Report

Barth, Elise Fredrikke (2002) Peace as Disappointment: The Reintegration of Female Soldiers in Post-Conflict Societies: A Comparative Study from Africa, PRIO Report, 3. Oslo: PRIO.

The roles of women during war and peace are often very different. During a war, women may perform tasks usually performed by men, in addition to supporting the war effort more directly. In some cases, women are themselves soldiers. When a war is over, women's contributions during the conflict rarely receive recognition, one reason being that the needs and priorities of a post-conflict society are very different from those of a society at war: whereas men and women are encouraged to act out similar roles as fellow soldiers in an army or guerrilla movement, post-conflict society encourages difference between the genders. This has important consequences for former soldier women and for their sense of identity. In many cases, female ex-soldiers prefer to conceal their military past rather than risk social disapproval. Policymakers need to be aware of the characteristic obstacles faced by female ex-soldiers in a post-conflict situation. Drawing on a range of conflicts within Africa, with a special focus on Eritrea, this report describes a number of postwar challenges faced by female ex-combatants. The report will be of interest to aid workers, diplomats and researchers focusing on post-conflict reconstruction. Contents Preface Chapter 1: Prologue Chapter 2: Targeting Chapter 3: Revolutionary Movements: Women's Roles Chapter 4: Factors that Influence the Reintegration Process of Female Soldiers Chapter 5: Findings and Recommendations References Acronyms