1st Edition

Why Women Rebel Understanding Women's Participation in Armed Rebel Groups

By Alexis Henshaw Copyright 2017
    147 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    148 Pages
    by Routledge

    Why Women Rebel presents a global analysis of the extent to which women are engaged in armed, organized rebellions, and why they choose to join such rebellions. Henshaw has collected and analyzed data on women’s participation in over 70 post-Cold War rebel groups. The book provides a theoretical analysis drawing upon both mainstream literature in the social sciences and critical, feminist inquiry on women and political violence to offer a new gendered theory on why women rebel.

    The book reveals that women are active in over half of all rebel groups sampled and that, while the majority of rebel groups have women serving in support roles away from direct combat, approximately a third of these groups employ women in the conduct of armed attacks, and just over a quarter have women in a leadership capacity. Henshaw reaffirms the idea that women are more likely to be engaged in left-wing political organizations, but does suggest that more conservative or traditional movements may also successfully incorporate women by appealing to concerns about community rights.

    Addressing several gaps in the current literature on this topic, this book will be of interest to academics in the fields of political science, international relations, security studies, and gender and women’s studies.

    1. Introduction and Overview

    2. A Combatant by Any Other Name: Assessing What Women Do in War

    3. Comparing Mainstream and Feminist Theories on Rebellion

    4. Where Women Rebel: A Cross-National Analysis of Women’s Participation in Armed Rebel Groups

    5. Why Women Rebel: An Analysis of Women’s Participation in Rank-and-File Roles

    6. Where Women Lead: Gender and Leadership in Armed Rebel Groups

    7. Summary and Conclusions


    Alexis Leanna Henshaw is Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Miami University, USA. Her research focuses on topics related to women, sexuality, and security.