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Female Soldiers in Sierra LeoneSex, Security, and Post-Conflict Development$
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Megan H. MacKenzie

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814761373

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814761373.001.0001

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Defining Soldiers

Defining Soldiers

(p.45) 3 Defining Soldiers
Female Soldiers in Sierra Leone

Megan H. Mackenzie

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the lack of recognition for female soldiers in Sierra Leone. Despite ample evidence that females participated in the conflict, policy makers in Sierra Leone largely refused to acknowledge these women as beneficiaries, or as subjects worthy of policy attention. The resistance to recognizing female participation in war has mainly resulted from gendered norms and assumptions associated with conjugal order, including the idea that women are naturally peaceful due to their life-giving roles, and the notion that men, as heads of households, are the decision makers and the sole political actors within armed movements. As such, female soldiers in Sierra Leone were (re)constructed as “wives,” “camp followers,” or “sex slaves” in order to desecuritize, silence, and distinguish them from securitized male soldiers.

Keywords:   female soldiers, Sierra Leone, beneficiaries, policy attention, gendered norms, conjugal order

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