© 2016

Ex-Combatants, Gender and Peace in Northern Ireland

Women, Political Protest and the Prison Experience


Part of the Palgrave Studies in Compromise after Conflict book series (PSCAC)

Table of contents

About this book


This book explores the contours of women's involvement in the Irish Republican Army, political protest and the prison experience in Northern Ireland. Through the voices of female and male combatants, it demonstrates that women remained marginal in the examination of imprisonment during the Conflict and in the negotiated peace process. However, the book shows that women performed a number of roles in war and peace that placed constructions of femininity in dissent.

Azrini Wahidin argues that the role of the female combatant is not given but ambiguous. She indicates that a tension exists between different conceptualisations of societal security, where female combatants both fought against societal insecurity posed by the state and contributed to internal societal dissonance within their ethno-national groups. This book tackles the lacunae that has created a disturbing silence and an absence of a comprehensive understanding of women combatants, which includes knowledge of their motivations, roles and experiences. It will be of particular interest to scholars of criminology, politics and peace studies.


Criminology Transitional justice Irish Republican Army Political prisoner Women Gender Criminal justice system terrorism Sinn Féin Political Protest Armagh Disarmament Demobilisation post-conflict Cumann na mBan Good Friday agreement social reconstruction ethnography reconciliation peace building

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Nottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Azrini Wahidin is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Nottingham Trent University, UK. She is on the Executive Committee of the British Society of Criminology and is Chair of the Professional Affairs and Ethics Committee. She has held visiting posts at Melbourne University, University of Sydney, Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Malaya.

Bibliographic information


“In Ex-Combatants, Gender and Peace in Northern Ireland, Wahidin uses interviews to expose the intimate and poignant accounts of the prison experience through a gendered lens. … It is a must-read to understand the integral role that female combatants had during the conflict and that female ex-combatants must have during social transformation for a solid and lasting peace. Wahidin’s work is a seminal text that should be read by everyone studying post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building.” (Ashleigh McFeeters, LSE,, February, 2017)