Women, Armed Conflict, and Peacemaking in Sri Lanka: Toward a Political Economy Perspective

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Abstract

This article discusses women's roles as victims, perpetrators, and peacemakers in armed conflicts in contemporary Sri Lanka. It covers such phenomena as rape as a weapon of war, women IDPs, “war widows,” female-headed households, women suicide bombers, mothers for peace, and feminist peace activism. The article points out that aggression and victimization need to be understood as occurring across ethnicity and gender as well as within ethnic and gender groups. Contributing toward a political economy perspective, the article considers the complex intersection of gender, ethnicity, caste, and social class within the confluence of local, regional, and international forces. The article concludes by emphasizing the need to broaden the social class and local bases of feminist peace activism and to formulate an integrated gender-, ethnicity- and class-sensitive policy agenda for postconflict development in Sri Lanka.

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