African Feminist Perspectives on Militarism: Day TWO -16 Days of Activism

African Feminists on Militarism, Conflict and Women’s Activism

Dr. Margo Okazawa-Rey
Dr. Amina Mama
“Theorizing  conflict from a gender perspective very quickly leads us to  the  realization  that for women living in patriarchal societies, all of which  are  characterized  by a general proclivity for violence, peace and security  are elusive, limited and precarious……Bringing a feminist lens to bear on the meaning of militarisation,  conflict, peace and reconstruction, takes our analysis beyond ‘toys for  the boys’ considerations of arms, arms expenditure, and the mobilisation  and demobilisation of national armies. It enables us to tackle the broader  historical and socio-cultural conditions that underpin the normalisation of  institutionalised violence in our lives. Feminist analyses define militarism in  terms that include values, norms and ideas, institutional cultures, and values  that emanate from the military and military institutions to permeate society,  and come into play in all aspects of culture and identity”~  Amina Mama and Margo Okazawa-Rey

Dr.  Rangira Béa Gallimore
“The exclusion of women from the military is also linguistically reflected  in Kinyarwanda, the principal language of Rwanda. The word for ” male” in  Kinyarwanda is ” umugabo” where the radical ” gab(o)” denotes masculinity.  It is therefore not surprising that the Kinyarwanda word for the army is  ” ingabo.” This same word also signifies ” shield.” Here, the emphasis is on the  protective role played by the male soldier in the society.”

Yaliwe Clarke
“The prevalence of aggressive masculinities institutionalised in armies
and security structures has featured prominently in contexts where political
institutions have been displaced by militias and armies engaged in violent
conflict. In such militarised societies, violence has become a political tool to
retain power amongst the elite, and in a growing number of instances (notably
Rwanda, DRC, Liberia and Sierra Leone), mass rape and gender based violencehave been widely deployed as a military strategy to terrorise the ‘enemy’.”

Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge
“Feminist scholars have begun to analyze the intersection of militarism and
patriarchy and the impact they have on gender roles. They are discovering
that merely becoming involved in a military force does not automatically
liberate women from exploitative relationships. Rather, women who choose
to join military forces have to combat both the external enemy and the
patriarchal attitudes and actions within the military force itself. Whereas it was
believed that the incorporation of women into the military would transform
gender relations and roles and free women from patriarchy, the reality is
that militarism serves to reinforce and reproduce unequal gender relations.”

Source: Africa Gender Institute, University of Capetown
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  1. i love this website and i am so proud to be a African woman from the continent. Great work for all the women of the continent and around the world.

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