Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Michelle Angrist




politics, conflict, war, civil, peace, gender


Since 1989, the world has seen civil war replace traditional war as the prevailing paradigm of conflict. Simultaneously, the world’s leading thinkers, international bodies, and aid organizations have encouraged the idea that women’s rights are human rights, and urged that policy issues be considered through a gendered lens. My thesis aims to connect these two concurrent shifts in geopolitics by examining the relationship between civil war and women. How do women experience civil war differently from men? How does the legacy of civil war change women’s lives? Specifically, my thesis examines the effects civil war has on women’s political power. In the existing literature on this topic, two conflicting themes emerge: the idea that civil war increases women’s political participation, and the notion that following civil war, women are confined to roles more traditional and constraining than in the status-quo ante. Additionally, an examination of civil wars occurring after 1989 suggests that countries which have undergone civil conflict often live under an authoritarian government in the post-conflict period, complicating the issue of how women fit into politics post-civil war. In my thesis, I will attempt to answer two questions to reconcile these contradictions. First, under what conditions does civil war assist women’s entrance into formal political bodies? Second, in cases where women do enter these political bodies post-conflict, how does the type of regime influence the ability of those women to make significant legislative and policy contributions?