Female Soldiers in Sierra Leone: Sex, Security, and Post-Conflict Development

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The eleven-year civil war in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002was incomprehensibly brutal-it is estimated that half of allfemale refugees were raped and many thousands were killed.While the publicity surrounding sexual violence helped tocreate a general picture of women and girls as victims of theconflict, there has been little effort to understand female soldiers'involvement in, and experience of, the conflict. FemaleSoldiers in Sierra Leone draws on interviews with 75 formerfemale soldiers and over 20 local experts, providing a rareperspective on both the civil war and post-conflict developmentefforts in the country. Megan MacKenzie argues thatpost-conflict reconstruction is a highly gendered process,demonstrating that a clear recognition and understandingof the roles and experiences of female soldiers are centralto both understanding the conflict and to crafting effectivepolicy for the future.