Undergraduate Research Journal


Historically, women have been constantly excluded from combat in war except in times of dire need. Even today women are not allowed in the overwhelming majority of armies from around the world, and the ones that do allow women do not allow them on the front lines. Women have always been seen as not capable of war or as not needing to fight since the men can fight for them. Yet, time and time again it appears that guerrilla, insurgent, and terrorist groups have let women into their ranks. While large numbers of women fought in both the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People's Army (FARC) in order to better their lives, it appears that women in the Sandinistas were generally treated better both within the guerilla movement, and more importantly, in civilian society than were those in the FARC. This difference seems to be related to differences in women’s motivation for joining the movement. While women in Nicaragua joined for the sole purpose of improving their position in society and increasing gender and social equality, women in Colombia joined for a wide variety of individual reasons, some of which were positive, like improving their position in society, but most were negative, like avoiding economic and physical hardship, violence, or even being forced to join. Under these circumstances, women were in a far weaker position to complain or fight back when faced with conditions of inequality and oppression within the movement.



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