Framing the Narrative: Female Combatants, Gendered Symbolism, and Support for Armed Rebellions


Thursday, November 12, 2020, 12:00pm to 12:45pm


Hosted Online

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Dr. Reed M. Wood | Reader in the Department of Government, University of Essex

This talk considers the important roles female combatants and gendered imagery often play in rebel efforts to cultivate and disseminate positive narratives regarding the movement and its political goals. It highlights the frequency with which rebels include images of female combatants in their propaganda materials and discusses why such images can influence external and domestic audiences' attitudes toward the movement. This talk also includes the presentation of results from a novel survey experiment assessing the impact of female combatants on external observers' attitudes toward a hypothetical rebel movement and their beliefs about women's motives for participation in the group. Lastly, it explores the heterogenous effects of female combatants across different types of audiences.


Reed M. Wood is Reader in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. He received a Ph.D. (2010) in Political Science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. His current research investigates the causes and implications of women’s participation in armed resistance movements, the influence of gender diversity on conflict resolution and post-conflict peace, and the influence of development and other forms of foreign aid on patterns of violence during civil conflicts. Dr. Wood is currently involved in several ongoing data collection projects, including the Women in Armed Rebellion Dataset (WARD), the Sub-National Analysis of Repression Project (SNARP), and the Political Terror Scale (PTS). His book, Female Fighters: Why Rebels Recruit Women for War, was recently published by Columbia University Press.