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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Love & Light

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

  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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