1st Edition

Female Fighters in Armed Conflict Listening to Their Own Stories

Edited By Béatrice Hendrich Copyright 2023
    250 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the why and the how of women’s participation in armed struggle, and challenges preconceived assertions about women and violence, providing both a historic and a contemporary focus.

    The volume is about women who have participated in armed conflict as members of an armed group, trained in military action, with different tasks within the conflict. The chapters endeavor to make women’s own voices heard, to discover the untold stories of women as perpetrators and facilitators of military violence, and the authors do this through the use of personal interviews and the study of primary documents. The work widens the geographical perspective of feminist security studies to discover in what ways the historical, political, and social context has motivated the women to participate in military action, and presents new case study data from Germany, Ukraine, Turkey, Israel, Palestine, Cameroon, India, the Philippines, Vietnam and Latin America. Temporally, the chapters cover almost two centuries, from the late 19th century to the present day, touching upon a wide variety of examples of armed conflict, from wars of independence to the Second World War. Bringing together approaches from politics, history, anthropology and area studies, the chapters are informed by the fundamental insights of feminist research and address such pivotal questions as hegemonic masculinity in the armed forces and the relation between women’s armed violence and female agency.

    This book will be of much interest to students and researchers in gender and security studies, armed conflict and history.

    1. Female fighters in armed conflicts: Introduction

    Béatrice Hendrich

    Part 1: The historical perspective: Changing perceptions, repeating patterns?

    2. A woman in power in 19th-Century South Asia: An inspiring life path for struggles against injustice

    Richard Herzog

    3. Fighting for peace, fighting for the country? The inclusion of women in Turkey’s national defense in the late 1930s

    Béatrice Hendrich

    4. Soldaderas and Guerrilleras: Camp followers and female fighters in Latin American armed conflicts in the 19th and 20th centuries

    Barbara Potthast

    5. Discourses about women, bodies and military combat in Vietnam: "In my heart, I always wished to go"

    Thi Hue Nguyen; Eva Fuhrmann

    Part 2: Case studies 1: Women in national armed forces

    6. Transfer, transformation and use of combat experience inside Nazi concentration camps, 1942–1945: The fight continues after the battle

    Olesia Isaiuk

    7. Women soldiers in frontline war rooms: Protecting the nation on the backstage of war

    Ayelet Harel

    8. Women of color in the armed forces of Germany: Invisibly exposed?

    Egzona Gashi; Béatrice Hendrich

    Part 3: Case studies 2: The gender of sacrifice and agency

    9. Gendered resistance: Self-portrayals of female suicide bombers in Palestine

    Britt Ziolkowski

    10. Jihad with woman’s face: Boko Haram female fighters in Cameroon

    Aimé Raoul Sumo Tayo

    11. Demythifying the Caliphate: Asymmetrical dependencies of radicalized women in Jihadist groups in the Philippines

    Charlotte Mei Yee Chin


    Béatrice Hendrich is a professor of Turkey studies at the University of Cologne, Germany.