Female Soldiers in Sierra Leone

Sex, Security, and Post-Conflict Development

Megan H. MacKenzie

NYU Press (publisher)

The eleven-year civil war in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002
was incomprehensibly brutal—it is estimated that half of all
female refugees were raped and many thousands were killed.
While the publicity surrounding sexual violence helped to
create a general picture of women and girls as victims of the
conflict, there has been little effort to understand female soldiers’
involvement in, and experience of, the conflict. Female
Soldiers in Sierra Leone draws on interviews with 75 former
female soldiers and over 20 local experts, providing a rare
perspective on both the civil war and post-conflict development
efforts in the country. Megan MacKenzie argues that
post-conflict reconstruction is a highly gendered process,
demonstrating that a clear recognition and understanding
of the roles and experiences of female soldiers are central
to both understanding the conflict and to crafting effective
policy for the future.

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