Aug 2015 – Dec 2015
Leaders of armed groups often strongly advise their members to avoid pregnancies, due to the dangers that guerrilla soldiers face in the mountains and jungle areas where they operate and carry out battles. Some armed groups also give out contraceptives. However, intimate relationships between guerrilla soldiers emerge and some female soldiers become pregnant and give birth during war. The challenges they face with a new-born baby in a war zone are enormous and the options they have for how to take care of the child are quite limited. Female soldiers often carry the heaviest burden in these cases.
Both genders – female and male – can be actors as well as victims in armed conflict, depending on the context. Changed gender roles among ex-combatants of armed groups constitute a potential source of change towards more balanced gender relations in the larger postconflict society. It is necessary to take into account the particular needs of victims of armed conflict, but it is equally important to bear in mind that female and male conflict actors also represent resources that bring their new skills and experiences into the post-conflict situation.