The case of women Maoists: How gender equality can tackle terror4 min read . Updated: 04 Apr 2021, 10:55 PM IST
Addressing the gender injustices that motivate many to join Maoist cadres can help the Indian state contain this insurgency
Last March, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) released a list of 22 martyred women cadres to applaud the contribution of women to its cause. This renewed the conversation around female Maoists composing a substantial 60% of their total cadres and occupying almost all operational and tactical positions responsible for sustaining the Maoist rebellion in India. For a security threat constituting such a sizeable number of female combatants, embracing the woman question should be central to conflict resolution. This is why most of the government’s counter-terrorism measures fall short: They consider male motivations as the human default set, and model security responses accordingly. Female Maoists often express different reasons for joining the rebellion than their male comrades, indicating a need to address them separately. The umbrella grievance of women in the movement is that of gender inequality, which worsens problems of sexual assault, police brutality, atrocities against Scheduled Caste/Tribe (SC/ST) communities, and economic inequality.