Gender and new wars


War plays an important role in the construction of gender, or the social roles of men and women. This article analyzes the gendered experience of what Kaldor calls \"new wars.\" It shows that new wars are largely fought by men in the name of a political identity that usually has a significant gender dimension. They use tactics that involve deliberate attacks on civilians, including systematic rape as a weapon of war, and are financed by predatory economic activities that tend to affect women more than men. The article describes the ways in which laws relating to gendered violence have been strengthened since the 1990s, arguing that implementation has been very weak. The article concludes that the construction of masculinity in new wars, in contrast to the heroic warrior of \"old wars,\" is much more contradictory and insecure. On the one hand, extreme gender differences can only be secured through continued violence; on the other hand, the very contradictory and insecure character of masculinity offers a potential for alternatives. By looking at new wars through a gender lens, it is possible to identify policy options that might be more likely to contribute to a sustained peace. These include support for civil society, which tends to involve a preponderance of women, implementation of law at local and international levels, and greater participation of women in all aspects of peacemaking, including peacekeeping and law enforcement.


Chinkin, C.; Kaldor, M. Gender and new wars. Journal of International Affairs- Columbia University (2013) 67 (1) 167-187.

Gender and new wars

Published 1 January 2013