From militants to mothers? A feminist inquiry into the implications of gender-aware disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes in the case of female FARC combatants in Colombia

Thumbnail Image
Wüstner, Isabella
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This study is a feminist critical inquiry of international gender-specific disarmament, demobilization and reintegration standards that focuses on the example of female FARC fighters in Colombia. In the light of discrepancies between the application of those international standards and the challenges faced by female FARC members in the transition to civilian life, the study relies on post-modern feminist approaches to discuss the issue of ‘normalization’ and its impact on female combatants. Methods of deconstruction are used to identify underlying gender relations. An inter-disciplinary methodology combines legal, political and ethnographic research in order to analyse the match between the Colombian DDR framework under the 2016 Peace Agreement and standards enshrined in international hard and soft law, on the one hand, and evidence collected by means of qualitative interviews in the field, on the other. The Colombian programme is generally considered an example of best practice due to its differential approach for female combatants, its compliance with international standards and its success in addressing many challenges voiced by the combatants. Nevertheless, the research also identifies some shortcomings in international standards in terms of gendered contexts of normality and subconscious roles that ultimately inhibit transformation. By laying bare these unspoken gendered assumptions, the study aims to contribute to their disruption and to the advancement of more durable and inclusive solutions. KEYWORDS: female combatants; DDR; Colombia; FARC; reintegration; feminist theory; peace-building
Second semester University: Utrecht University
women soldiers, Colombia, peace, feminism, reintegration, disarmament