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Women and Girls at War: Wives , Mothers, and Fighters in the Lord s Resistance Army


  • Jeannie Annan

    () (International Rescue Committee)

  • Christopher Blattman

    () (Yale University)

  • Dyan Mazurana

    () (Tufts University)

  • Khristopher Carlson

    () (Tufts University)


Data from Uganda challenge conventional notions about the role of females during and after war. Women and girls recruited by the LRA play active roles and are not passive victims. We show how LRA treatment of females especially strict rules against civilian rape and the use of forced marriage serves an instrumental purpose, enhancing control of the forces and protection from HIV. Finally, in contrast to conventional beliefs, we find that only a minority of females exhibit serious psychosocial reintegration difficulties, whether psychological distress or persistent community and family rejection. Abduction also has little adverse impact on their education and economic activity, although this is largely because of the tragic dearth of opportunities for all females. Evidence from a growing set of cases suggests that these patterns may be of general relevance, and imply need for a shift in post-conflict policy towards females in war.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeannie Annan & Christopher Blattman & Dyan Mazurana & Khristopher Carlson, 2009. "Women and Girls at War: Wives , Mothers, and Fighters in the Lord s Resistance Army," HiCN Working Papers 63, Households in Conflict Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:63

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Angrist, Joshua & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Why Do World War II Veterans Earn More Than Nonveterans?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 74-97, January.
    2. Mark Knight & Alpaslan O÷zerdem, 2004. "Guns, Camps and Cash: Disarmament, Demobilization and Reinsertion of Former Combatants in Transitions from War to Peace," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(4), pages 499-516, July.
    3. Bernd Beber & Christopher Blattman, 2010. "The Industrial Organization of Rebellion: The Logic of Forced Labor and Child Soldiering," HiCN Working Papers 72, Households in Conflict Network.
    4. Fischbach, Ruth L. & Herbert, Barbara, 1997. "Domestic violence and mental health: Correlates and conundrums within and across cultures," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1161-1176, October.
    5. Joshua D. Angrist, 1998. "Estimating the Labor Market Impact of Voluntary Military Service Using Social Security Data on Military Applicants," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(2), pages 249-288, March.
    6. Elisabeth Jean Wood, 2009. "Armed Groups and Sexual Violence: When Is Wartime Rape Rare?," Politics & Society, , vol. 37(1), pages 131-161, March.
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    More about this item


    Armed conflict; Civil conflict; Household welfare; Transmission mechanism; Coping mechanism; Remittances;

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics


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