Gender and Armed Conflict

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
14 May 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

War narratives and studies of political violence have traditionally focused on the roles and actions of men. Women, to the extent they are considered, have typically been framed as innocent bystanders and victims. Yet, women often actively participate in civil wars and in terrorist campaigns, either as civilian supporters of these groups or as armed fighters. Women are therefore both willing to and capable of engaging in the same violent actions as their male counterparts during wartime. Intriguingly, there is also evidence that the inclusion of women in political processes--particularly in positions of authority--may help promote peace, resolve political conflicts, and increase stability after armed conflict.

In addition to acknowledging the profound impact that civil conflicts have on women (including sexual violence and displacement), this course explores the many important roles that women often play in terrorist and rebel organizations and examines women's potential contributions to post-war peace building and conflict resolution. The objective of the course is that students gain a better understanding of the roles women play in the production and resolution of political violence and the manner in which gender and gender attitudes influence war and armed conflict.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

To introduce students to the often-overlooked roles of women in armed conflict.

B. To introduce students to alternative theoretical lenses—such as feminist and critical gender perspectives—in contemporary security and conflict studies.

C. To engage with a wide range of applied empirical material relating to the role of women in armed conflict and the manner in which gendered, gendered attitudes, and gendered structures influence the onset and outcome of armed conflict.

D. To evaluate contemporary conflicts and security policies using the theoretical lenses and empirical material introduced in the module through classroom discussion and written analyses of specific conflicts.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

A. Identify and describe the history of women’s participation in the national militaries of the US, European states, and other countries.

B. Identify and describe the various roles that women play in historical and contemporary armed resistance movements.

C. Identify and explain the various sources of the gendered nature of recruitment and participation in armed groups.

D. Discuss the use and implications of gendered imagery during armed conflict and evaluate the effectiveness of such imagery as a propaganda tool.

E. Explain the practical, ethical, and strategic implications of excluding women from participation in conflict resolution, peacekeeping, and post-conflict governance.

Module information

Week 1: Research and Analysis on Gender and Conflict (discussion of positivist versus post-positivist approaches to the study of gender and politics)

Week 2: Women in State Armed Forces and National Militaries

Week 3: Female Combatants in Counter-insurgency Operations

Week 4: Women in Armed Resistance Movements

Week 5: Gendered Recruitment and its Implications

Week 6: Gendered Symbolism and Imagery in Wartime

Week 7: Women as Victims and Perpetrators of Atrocity

Week 8: Women, Gender and Peacekeeping

Week 9: Women in Post-conflict Politics and Society

Week 10: Conclusion, Review, and Reflections

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered with (i) a weekly pre-recorded lecture and (ii) a weekly interactive lecture. The pre-recorded lecture will consist of one or more items of prepared content that students can access electronically and must study before the interactive lecture. The interactive lecture will consist of one 50-minute lecture in which students can ask questions about, and discuss various aspects of, the prepared content with the module supervisor. .



Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Annotated Bibliography    25% 
Coursework   Research Paper    35% 
Written Exam  Test 1    20% 
Written Exam  Test 2    20% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Reed Wood, email: reed.wood@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Reed Wood
Dr Reed Wood reed.wood@essex.ac.uk Administrator Sallyann West govquery@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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