International Handbooks on Gender series
Edited by Simona Sharoni, Julia Welland, Linda Steiner and Jennifer Pedersen
Chapter 10: Girls as weapons of war
This chapter provides an overview of the myriad ways in which adolescent women and girls experience war. Gender-based violence is often used as a tactic of war that targets females, destroys communities and leaves deep sociocultural, economic, psychological and health burdens. At the same time, girls make up roughly 40 per cent of child soldiers worldwide and they are vulnerable to sexual abuse, torture and trauma. Because they are perceived to be less valuable than boys or men, they are more likely to be used as human shields or to sweep minefields. While some girl soldiers do engage in warfare, many serve in domestic or support roles, cooking and repairing clothing for members of the militia. The needs of adolescent women and girls in conflict are distinct from other social groups, including adult women, and their ability to overcome and recover from their experiences depends in large part on the extent to which humanitarian assistance and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes are sensitive.
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