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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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Empowerment Boom or Bust?

Empowerment Boom or Bust?

Assessing Women’s Post–Armed Conflict Empowerment Initiatives

(p.63) 4 Empowerment Boom or Bust?
Female Soldiers in Sierra Leone

Megan H. Mackenzie

NYU Press

This chapter presents the ways in which empowerment is used by development and aid agencies, focusing on the reintegration programs for female soldiers of Sierra Leone as a case study. Neoliberal ideals such as individualism, responsibility, and economic discipline have shaped empowerment initiatives to a far greater extent than considerations of local input, marginalized groups, or representation. Moreover, projects advertising themselves as sources of women's empowerment—including the reintegration process in Sierra Leone—are informed by liberal understandings of conjugal order and serve to discipline subjects with explicit messages about appropriate gendered social order and legitimate behaviors. The chapter also remarks on broader issues surrounding neoliberal, largely Western-led development.

Keywords:   empowerment, Sierra Leone, female soldiers, women's empowerment, conjugal order, liberal understandings, gendered social order

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