Perceiving What Comes After War is ‘Natural’: Women Ex-soldiers in Post Conflict Aceh, Indonesia


This paper focuses on the Free Aceh Movement or Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) women ex-soldiers in the post-Helsinki agreement period. This article argues that the patriarchal dividend in the form of material reward and higher social standing gained by the GAM ex-commanders from the peace process are sustained through militarized masculine ideology in domesticating women ex-soldiers into families and subsuming them into the mainstream GAM ex-military organization (the Aceh Transition Commission or the KPA, Komite Peralihan Aceh). The research findings confirmed that women ex-soldiers’ subordination has been ‘taken for granted’ by their ex-commanders. The taken-for-granted-ness of the ex-commander's view on women ex-soldiers in the post-conflict Aceh was as an effect of the gendered power relations. As a result the ex-commanders presumed women ex-soldiers’ return as going back into ‘normal’. Women ex-soldiers’ return was presumed by their ex-commanders as going back into their families, back into society as ordinary girls or women in villages. Although to some extent their ex-commanders still ‘recognized’ them as part of the GAM insurgency movement, in fact their post-conflict retained military status was different from their male counterpart. The women were called by their ex-commanders as ‘passive soldiers’ or ‘supporting soldiers’.

Author Information
Sait Abdulah, The National Institute of Public Administration, Indonesia

Paper Information
Conference: ACSS2020
Stream: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Gender

This paper is part of the ACSS2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Abdulah S. (2020) Perceiving What Comes After War is ‘Natural’: Women Ex-soldiers in Post Conflict Aceh, Indonesia ISSN: 2186-2303 – The Asian Conference on the Social Sciences 2020: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon