Honorable Mention – Women of War: The Female Fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

Since the start of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 1983, Tamil women have occupied a key role in the conflict. In the struggle for the anticipated state of Tamil Eelam, the socio-cultural role of women has undergone, and continues to undergo, a radical transformation.[i] As a result of this “gendered reconstruction of womanhood,” women are no longer constrained to the household during times of war, but instead, frequently venture out into the battlefields, side-by-side with their male combatant counterparts.[ii] We can see, looking back at the 26 year-long battle between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan state, that women do indeed play a vital role in times of violent conflict. The question remains, however, whether the female LTTE combatants have been manipulated into victims of war by the male-dominated insurgency, or whether they have become agents of their own empowerment through their participation in the conflict.

This paper explores the gendered dimensions of ethnic conflict, with a focus on the role that women have played in the LTTE. I analyze the gendered reconstruction of Tamil women in war and determine whether their participation in violence has altered their own perception of themselves and to a lesser extent society’s view of female combatants. I will achieve this analysis by drawing from numerous sources that offer first-hand knowledge of, and interviews with, female LTTE fighters. In order to better understand the roots of the conflict between the Tamil and Sinhalese peoples of Sri Lanka, I will first provide a brief history of the Sri Lankan Civil War, leading up to the rise of the LTTE (Part II). In Part III, I will outline the LTTE’s role in the war, and how they transformed socio-cultural norms in Sri Lanka by mobilizing Tamil women for the fight. The following macro-section (Part IV) will focus on the subsequent effect that mobilization of female combatants had on society and, more importantly, on the women involved in the conflict; I will examine how female sentiments were manifested in either a positive, self-empowering light, or in a negative, victimized manner. Next, (Part V) I will concisely connect the Sri Lankan case of female fighters with one similar South Asian case study of women soldiers—namely, the Maoist insurgency in Nepal. In the conclusion of the paper I will look at ex-LTTE female fighters in today’s Tamil society. While the recruitment of female combatants by the LTTE has been perceived by many to be an act of victimization by the male leaders of the conflict, I believe that this new role for women serves as an opportunity for the female soldiers to empower themselves by defying societal, socio-cultural norms.

History and the Rise of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

As a consequence of European imperialist whims and internal ethnic fragmentation, Sri Lanka has faced a relentless string of conflicts over reclamation of its land. Since the sixteenth century, Sri Lanka has been a European object of admiration and possession. In 1505, the Portuguese colonized the island and divided it into seven warring factions. Nearly a century later, the Dutch arrived and began ruling the Sinhalese and Tamil kingdoms, falling short of capturing the prized Kandyan kingdom (see Appendix A). Upon the British arrival in 1815, Kandy was finally seized and the island was eventually politically “unified.” However, a truly unified nation never really materialized.[iii]

Britain’s preferential treatment of a minority ethnic group over the larger ethnic population only exacerbated the disunity among the Tamil and Sinhalese populations. The Tamils, who made up 11 percent of the Sri Lankan population, had disproportionate access to English education and civil services. Despite the post-colonial attempts to address and rectify the ethnic disparities, the psychological legacy of the colonial oppression was that Tamils continued to view themselves as rightful occupants of their homeland.

Upon independence, the Tamil people started to push for greater autonomy, and eventually the idea of the establishment of a Tamil Eelam became more and more appealing to them. The newly established Sinhalese government quickly began disenfranchising the Tamil people, establishing a mode of political representation based on the majority ethnic political parties.[iv] Sinhalese candidates began running on a platform of “Sinhalese-only,” promising to “restore Buddhism to its proper place in society.”[v] These political tactics appealed to the masses, and the Sinhalese were effectively able to convince the Tamils that they were the true minority in the hands of the Sinhala majority. It quickly became apparent that bureaucratic methods of secession, such as the system of District Development Councils, would not prove effective for the Tamils. Resentment built up, and in 1975 a young, radical Tamil named Veupillai Prabhakaran shot the moderate Tamil mayor of Jaffna. This one action ultimately set the tone for what was to follow: the Tamils’ relentless and bloody fight for autonomy – bypassing all means of diplomacy or negotiation settlements.[vi]

Prabhakaran’s assassination of the mayor of Jaffna was only the beginning of his ultimate scheme to gain a separatist Tamil state. Just one year later, in 1976, Prabhakaran pioneered the use of suicide bombers, guised in black uniforms with their heads masked and known to many as the “Black Tigers.”[vii] On July 24, 1983, the Tigers killed thirteen soldiers in a land-mine ambush, and the Sinhalese, in turn, made the Tamil population at large pay for the mistake. A murderous rampage ensued across the southern part of the island as the Sinhalese killed, tortured, and raped thousands of Tamil people.[viii]

The killings were perhaps the worst ever anti-Tamil riots to date and evidence points to the government’s involvement with and aid in these events. When the government finally addressed the media regarding the mass killings, they blamed the fighting on the “cumulative indignation of the Sinhalese people.”[ix] The added gross lack of concern and consequential lack of remedying action convinced even the moderate Tamil people that, perhaps, the LTTE were right to be fighting for a separate homeland-independent from the unresponsive and corrupt Sri Lankan government. It is in this state of civil war that women had the choice to become actively involved in the conflict, or risk becoming passive subjects of the war’s violence.

Female Mobilization

From the outset of the formation of the LTTE, women have largely contributed to the military struggle against the Sri Lankan state and have become involved in the “very instrument of militancy used to attain the political cause of liberation.”[x] Social dynamics rooted in the state’s repression of the Tamils attracted a significant number of Tamil women to the LTTE movement. The very tenets of the Women’s Front, the female division inside the LTTE, were constructed around gender equality and transforming the gender status quo. The aims of the Women’s Front were to “(i) Secure the right of self-determination of ‘Tamililam’ and establish an independent democratic state of Tamililam; (ii.) Abolish oppressive caste discrimination and division and feudal customs such as the dowry system; (iii.) Eliminate all discrimination, secure social, political, and economic equality.”[xi] The LTTE’s proposal of these doctrines spoke to Tamil women and their desire for a more equalized society, in which they could achieve everything that their male counterparts could attain.

Similarly, the LTTE’s propaganda appealed to those women who wished to simultaneously better their Tamil nation and empower themselves. Posters depicting dynamic, militarized female bodies proclaimed, “Woman you light the flames of liberations! We are calling upon you. Pick up the torch of liberation and struggle for with each heartbeat, our nation is taking form – Tamil Eelam!”[xii] The LTTE propagated equal rights for women from the very start of their campaign, and declared that it was the only way to ensure female emancipation, while simultaneously working towards an autonomous homeland.[xiii] The LTTE propaganda of “Tamil Liberation,” for example, enabled the construction of female militants who could fight for their nation and for themselves.[xiv] Thus, the LTTE’s various recruitment tactics all sought to mobilize the female population in hopes of reaching their ultimate goal of autonomy.

Women in Tamil Society and the LTTE

In the previous section I argued that women joined the LTTE in hopes of generating gender equality and empowering themselves through the fight for liberation. Militarization has subsequently shaped the identity of these “female fighters” through their own eyes as well as in the eyes of society. The LTTE’s recruitment of women subsequently saw the reconstruction of the Tamil woman from the “traditional ideal of the auspicious, fecund wife to the androgynous Armed Virgin.”[xv] Prior to the LTTE’s recruitment of female soldiers, women were often confined to the domestic sphere; they were “generally respected, but simultaneously ambivalent, and [given a] somewhat restricted status.”[xvi] The traditional Tamil woman is circumscribed by the “social expectations and cultural conventions of addaccam (modesty and silence) and odduccam (poise and restraint).” Her mobility is monitored and controlled in public spaces and she is constantly under the scrutiny of the male population.[xvii] In fact, when Tamil men were interviewed regarding gender norm in Sri Lanka, they all acknowledged a woman’s “lack of freedom and power.” [xviii] This notion of a constructed gender identity has become incredibly entrenched in Tamil society and “general socialization processes.” It appears as though the war has been the only means of transforming these fundamental traditions.

Numerous first-hand accounts from female LTTE soldiers emphasize the socio-cultural transformation that has stemmed from the war. Tamilini, a former LTTE front-ranking soldier, recounts, “Tamil women are traditionally shy and timid, lacking self-confidence. But all that changed after [LTTE] women were inducted into the battlefield.”[xix]The previously omnipresent notion that femininity is directly connected with passivity, indecision, softness, and emotionality, while masculinity is tied to aggression, independence, rationality, and activity, is no longer accepted by the majority of Tamil society.[xx] The civil war has changed these norms for many Tamils, and women have started to embrace their new identity. For many of the soldiers, their experiences of femininity have forever been transformed in their own eyes and in the eyes of their community.

In the following section, I will proceed to explain how these female fighters’ experiences have transformed their perception of themselves. I will classify these transformative experiences in two overarching categories: empowerment and victimization. It is at this point in my paper that I must also acknowledge the spectrum of victimization and empowerment that inherently exists for female combatants. While it is difficult to characterize an individual as being either a victim or an active agent of their own empowerment, I will speak to the degree of victimization and empowerment as perceived by the combatants themselves.

What is the Norm and how are Women Defying It? Women as Agents of Self-Empowerment

From the movement’s inception in 1983, the LTTE has drawn tens of thousands of women into its ranks, transforming the concept of the ideal Tamil Woman into one who is militarized, independent, and empowered. Drawing parallels between the ideas of militarization and empowerment, I believe that Tamil women who empower themselves through “gaining control or authority over some aspects of their lives in society” do so by means of militarization.[xxi] The LTTE’s creation of the word Ah-lu-mai (empowerment)speaks to this very connection between empowerment and female combatants.

For some female fighters, violence was a means of survival, a means of “communicating resistance and the integrity of a struggle for self-determination to the Sri Lankan army”.[xxii] When Sangarasivam asked Kala, a 23-year-old women cadre, why she joined the LTTE movement, she said:

When we see our sisters, and mothers raped by the [Sri Lankan] army, when we see our brothers taken away, beaten, and killed, when we watch our homes burn up in flames in the aftermath of aerial bombardments, what are we to do? Where do we go to hide, to live? I decided that I was not going to let that happen to me. I was not going to be raped and killed in the hands of the [Sri Lankan] army. I saw the courage of other girls who were joining the movement and decided that this was really the only way to survive.[xxiii]

Many women like Kala joined to preempt rape by Sinhalese or Indian soldiers at the start of the war, in the 1980’s. Others joined because they had been raped, or personally victimized by the Sri Lankan army.[xxiv] After just a few years, it became clear that women could indeed succeed for emancipation by mobilizing themselves behind the liberation organization. “They gained confidence, courage, determination, and in turn, are transformed from vulnerable targets into true revolutionaries”.[xxv] These women’s livelihoods and very survival would have been in jeopardy without the self-confidence and skills that the LTTE provided them with.

Other women have joined the movement in hopes of enacting societal change and eliminating the traditional gendered division in society. Rajini Thiranagama, a deceased Tamil feminist and human rights activist, wrote:

Women have come out strong during the war … they have stood out as individuals or as small groups exposing atrocities and violations of dignity. …Women who in the midst of war pleaded and argued with the militants for their families and the whole nations … women’s history does have a triumph. There is powerlessness, disappointment, and disillusion, but also hope.[xxvi]

Groups such as the Women’s Military Wing and Birds of Paradise accounted for 30 percent of the militants in the LTTE, and aimed to break free of conservative gender roles and resist state oppression. Just as Thiranagama had anticipated, periods of conflict such as the Sri Lankan Civil War “open up spaces of agency for women to cross private/public barriers and to assume new roles thereby shifting cultural norms to allow for the mobilization of female fighters”.[xxvii] Thus, the war provided women—who previously would not have had the opportunity to escape the private sphere—with the chance to not only change their own lives, but also to alter societal gender norms.

The following vivid account of the LTTE female cadres most effectively describes how the LTTE’s mobilization of female soldiers led to the empowerment of countless women. Thiranagama observes,

One cannot but be inspired when one sees the women of the LTTE in the night with their AKs slung over the shoulder … One cannot but admire the dedication and toughness of their training … One could see the nationalist fervor and the romantic vision of women in arms defending the nation (De Mel, 206).[xxviii]

These women have become agents of their own destinies through the militarization of their bodies and transformation of their identities.

Finally, there are those women who join the movement in the name of an autonomous state of Tamil Eelam and the liberation of the Tamil people. Personal liberation is attained as a consequence of their active participation in the conflict. In Margaret Trawick’s interview with Sita, a “Tamil Tigress,” the anthropologist learns that for Sita—and many other female LTTE combatants—“it is enough to fight for liberation (vidutalai) and happiness of the people for the people”.[xxix] As a result of Sita’s “absolute” attainment of personal liberation, she says that her mind and heart have also changed. She declares, “I have become even more ready to die. I see the suffering of the people and I have no fear about fighting and dying for them.”[xxx] Women like Sita yearn for the life of a fighter, and the subsequent honor that arises from fighting for your people and your homeland (eelam). In addition to the privileged degree of physical power and mobility that she gains from training with the LTTE, she is “liberated from the helpless rage expressed in the laments of so many traditional Tamil women.”[xxxi] Sita has proven to the LTTE that she loves Tamil Eelam and is willing to die for her homeland; it is through this self-sacrifice that Sita, along with many others, achieved her own self-empowerment.

Who are these Female LTTE Combatants? Women as Victims

The emergence of female combatants in the LTTE, however, has also resulted in great debates over the victimization of the women soldiers. Conservative Tamils who argue against the role of women militants often believe that females who have been manipulated into joining the fight are subsequently defying the socio-cultural norms of Sri Lanka. Some human rights activists perceive their involvement as a “support service, an instrument in the leadership’s armour”.[xxxii] Although many of these opponents provide compelling reasons to sympathize with the female fighters as victims of the LTTE, I believe that the women’s role as combatants against the oppressive state provides them with the means to actively empower themselves.

During the early stages of the war, it was quite common for the LTTE to target schools and villages in hopes of luring women into joining their cause. One account from a young female soldier at the Methsevana Government Rehabilitation Center for Girls in Nugegoda depicts the LTTE’s manipulative recruitment methods and how she became entrapped in a life of fighting. She says:

When I was sixteen the LTTE came to school and showed us war movies. Before that, they showed us karate videos. That’s why I wanted to join for the karate. At first I liked it the training, the uniform, the weapons. I didn’t learn karate but I learned how to shoot, and I enjoyed firing a weapon … After a while, I realized how much I missed my family, and I felt such loneliness, I cried every night. But we couldn’t go home … It was a one-way door; you could go in, but you couldn’t go out.[xxxiii]

As the young combatant’s account exemplifies, the LTTE lures young soldiers into their ranks, and in turn secures their presence in the movement. A Tamil Catholic priest, Father Sebastian, explains how the LTTE “don’t drag children out of their homes, they don’t coerce them, but they do entice them. They [mostly] join voluntarily.”[xxxiv] Newspaper and television accounts of the young girls of the LTTE depict groups of individuals who are “fanatically devoted to Prabhakaran” and who will “die for their homeland.”[xxxv] The young, impressionable girls do not see past the initial allure of fighting for their nation. The notion that they will be able to escape their constrained lives and enter into an exciting and “cool” adventure appeals to many Tamil women.[xxxvi] Others are drawn to the fighting because of the LTTE’s more practical enticement of security against the Sri Lankan army.[xxxvii] Regardless of their reasons for joining, the majority of women do not realize that they are bound by their choice to enlist. In fact, if they do join, they cannot leave; it is a “one-way door,” as those trapped behind it describe the situation. They have renounced their childhood through the very act of joining the LTTE. The LTTE is able to lure the young soldiers in, through any means necessary, in order to secure more fighters.

One might also argue that the LTTE victimizes its female soldiers, merely using them as a means to the ultimate end of attaining a homeland. Adamant opponents of the LTTE, such as Radhika Coomaraswamy, have gone so far as to describe the female soldiers as “cogs in the wheel” of male leadership of the LTTE.[xxxviii] Challengers of LTTE female mobilization see the women as victims of the Prabhakaran’s patriarchal nationalist project as well as the Sri Lankan militaries oppression. Christine Sixta argues that female fighters are caught within the “triple bind of oppression,” simultaneously battling Western oppression, societal [the state’s] oppression, and internal oppression within their own insurgent groups.[xxxix] Most notably, as a result of this “patriarchal containment” within their chosen militant groups, they enjoy only “agentive moments in an interregnum where normalcy is suspended and there is license to transform taboo and social convention.”[xl] These moments exemplify the LTTE’s initial reasons for recruiting female soldiers. Female combatants such as the Black Tigers – a largely suicide bombing division of the LTTE – are used as exploitable resources.[xli] The LTTE profits from the fact that many women such as the infamous Dhanu – the Black Tiger responsible for the death of Rajiv Gandhi – are willing to sacrifice themselves for the liberation of the Tamil people.[xlii]

Despite these arguments against the militarization of females in the LTTE, I believe it difficult to deny, all together, the first-hand accounts of self-empowerment and liberation by female soldiers. Although the LTTE did, at times, utilize deceitful methods of recruitment, those who enlisted did so out of a greater desire to either help their homeland or better themselves. Evidence shows that even in cases of forcible recruitment, levels of participation are better explained by the impact of the Sri Lankan state’s repression on women’s political ideals than by how they were recruited .[xliii] It is true that the LTTE recruited its soldiers in the hopes of strengthening its army and fighting for an autonomous homeland. However, it is also important to note that many of the women who voluntarily or coercively joined the army, were ultimately driven by not only the wish to emancipate themselves as women but also by their hopefulness and determination to secure greater power for the Tamil population as a whole.

It is particularly clear, if we look at first-hand accounts of female soldiers, that these women had envisioned a Tamil emancipation—in addition to their own liberation—when first joining the LTTE. For example, in her personal diary, Dhanu conveys her duty as a Tamil individual to liberate her people. She writes, “the most important liberation struggle was the struggle for Eelam and the liberation of the Tamil people.”[xliv] Thus, the LTTE’s fight against the state symbolizes more than just self-empowerment for those women engaging in combat: it is a chance to emancipate all Sri Lankan Tamils.

Those who argue that women such as Dhanu are merely a means to an end for the LTTE fail to acknowledge the personal benefits that the LTTE provides for its militants. Most importantly, females fighting in the public sphere are able to attain a sense of liberation that would have otherwise been impossible to achieve in the domestic sphere. For many women this liberation comes in the form of emancipation, and extended freedom and mobility in their everyday lives. The LTTE’s construction of new gender roles for the women provides them with the opportunity to surpass their domestic duties, and actively contribute to the fight for a homeland. The “conservative feminised ideal is now a public figure engaged in masculine activities and repudiating patriarchal norms of womanhood.”[xlv] These women yearn for the life of a fighter, in order to break through the deep-rooted hierarchical gendered structure of society. Tamilini, head of the women’s political wing in the Sri Lankan post-conflict processes, proclaims, “Now there is acceptance of the LTTE women as equal within the movement.”[xlvi] It is clear that these women have also greatly benefitted from the LTTE’s services. Training and fighting in the battlefield has provided women with the strength and self-empowerment to defend themselves and fight for their homeland.

Additionally, joining the LTTE provided women with the skills and means needed to protect themselves. As Balasingham writes, “Young women demanded their right to self-defense and their right to exercise their patriotic sentiments”.[xlvii] The LTTE leadership was committed to the emancipation and equality of women and welcomed such demands by expanding its military program for female combatants. Margaret Trawick’s research on why girls joined the LTTE revealed the shared belief that they were safest in the midst of their LTTE brethren. One female combatant, Nalini, shared, “there is no fear in the jungle.”[xlviii] The LTTE protected her from the Sri Lankan army while in the jungle and provided them with the necessary means to defend themselves—namely, AK-47s and T56s. Without the LTTE, these women would be living in constant fear, and their lives would be further limited by the conflict. Instead, they have become active agents of their survival, strength, and empowerment.

Broader Scope: Looking at Female Fighters Abroad

In the preceding pages, I have explained why and how the female fighters of the LTTE have become more empowered as a result of their militarized role in the conflict. Their role as fighters in the LTTE has provided them with the means of survival, strength, and self-empowerment, all while aiming for the end result of a liberated Tamil people and homeland. This argument might account for the Tamil women’s stories that were presented in my paper, but can it be applied to a more regional scale? Have other gender transformations emerged as a result of female militancy in Nepal’s Maoist Insurgency? This is the question that I will address and answer in the affirmative in the following paragraphs.

Looking at other South Asian cases, for example, we see several instances of violent conflict in which women comprise a significant percentage of those fighting. Each of these cases is complex and unique in its own right. Therefore, by looking at the Nepalese female fighters, this paper does not aim to analyze the degree to which the Nepalese women were empowered or victimized through their participation in their respective conflicts. Rather, I wish to draw a connection and highlight the similarities between the female combatants of the LTTE and the Nepalese fighters.

The Maoist Insurgency in Nepal is strikingly similar to the LTTE in Sri Lanka in regards to the way in which women used the rebel movement as a means to emancipate themselves. Both movements had a massive female presence—approximately one-third of those fighting in the LTTE and Maoists are women—joining the front ranks of the fight. In Nepal, there too has been a “women’s transformative experience” from “relative invisibility to visible protagonist.”[xlix] The Peoples War ideology, similar to LTTE’s doctrines, has opened up a space for women to claim rights and restructure a “gendered programmatic agenda.”[l] For many women who have fought in the ranks of the Maoists Movement, their participation was more than a challenge of patriarchal relations within the movements or even a social revolution within the state: it was an emancipatory act.[li] Just as the LTTE provided it’s female combatants with the tools needed to attain personal liberation, the Maoists have also provided their female fighters with the means to achieve such emancipation.


Although the Sri Lankan Civil War has left thousands of Tamil women in a position of helplessness and vulnerability at the hands of the state, there are many others who have grown stronger and more empowered as a result of the violence. Today, in post-war Sri Lanka, this newfound sense of inner-strength and empowerment has radically shifted the way women approach everyday life and societal issues. As militarization post 2009 reaches extreme levels, many Tamil women face a “desperate lack of security” and continue to “live in fear of violence” from the state (International Crisis Group, i).[lii] Although many ex-female combatants face economic constraints, limited mobility, and imminent displacement by the state, their experience in the war has led to high levels of commitment to a violent resistance movement and a nationalist cause.[liii] As I have shown in my paper, even in restrictive spaces and in the face of danger, these former female fighters do have agency in their actions and decisions. The current issue remains, however, that the militarized authority continues to dictate what avenues are available to them and whether or not they will ever feel secure again.

Considering how recent of a phenomenon this post-war militarization policy is, there is still a considerable about of research needed to fully grasp the impact of state militarization. On the one hand, Tamil activists have used this militarization in instrumental ways to further delegitimize the Sri Lankan state. Political analysts, on the other hand, continue to monitor the state’s activity in the northern and eastern Tamil provinces, in hopes of preventing the recurrence of violent conflict.[liv] Until the state acknowledges the vulnerabilities of these ex-combatant Tamil women and takes action to address them, there will always be a “latent potential for a resurgence in violent forms of resistance—particularly amongst Tamil women.”[lv] The female fighters’ experience fighting in the Civil War has provided them with the means to attain personal liberation and has continued to fuel their desire to liberate their own, Tamil people.

Erin Alexander (’15) is a Political Science major in Timothy Dwight College.



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[i] Neloufer De Mel, Women & the nation’s narrative: gender and nationalism in twentieth century Sri Lanka (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001), 206.

[ii] Joke Schrijvers, “Fighters, victims and survivors: constructions of ethnicity, gender and refugeeness among Tamils in Sri Lanka,” Journal of Refugee Studies 12.3 (1999): 308.

[iii] Marshall Singer, “The Tamil-Sinhalese Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka: A Case Study in Efforts to Negotiate a Settlement, 1983-1988,” The Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (1989):2.

[iv] Donald L. Horowitz, “Making Moderation Pay: The Comparative Politics of Ethnic Conflict Management,” in Conflict and Peacemaking in Multiethnic Societies, ed. Joseph V. Montville (Lexington: Lexington Books, 1990), 461.

[v] Singer, “The Tamil-Sinhalese Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka,” 3.

[vi] Ibid., 8.

[vii] Frances Harrison, “Black Tigers Appear in Public,” BBC News, November 26, 2002, accessed April 4, 2013, <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2516263.stm>.

[viii] Jon Lee Anderson, “Death of the Tiger: Sri Lanka’s brutal victory over its Tamil insurgents,” The New Yorker, January 17, 2011, 45.

[ix] Singer, “The Tamil-Sinhalese Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka,” 4.

[x] Tamara Herath, Women in Terrorism: Case of the LTTE. (Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2012), 46.

[xi] Vidyamali Samarasinghe, “Soldiers, Housewives and Peace Makers: Ethnic Conflict and Gender in Sri Lanka.” Gender Peace and Security Research Hub 14.2 (1996): 217.

[xii] Yamuna Sangarasivam, “Militarizing the female body: women’s participation in the Tamil nationalist struggle,” in Violence and the Body: Race, Gender and the State, ed. Arturo J Aldama (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003), 71.

[xiii] Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam, “Female Warriors, Martyrs and Suicide Attackers: Women in the LTTE,” International Review of Modern Sociology (2008): 8.

[xiv] Joke Schrijvers, “Fighters, victims and survivors,” 316.

[xv] Rita Manchanda, “Sri Lanka: Culture Conflict for LTTE Women,” Women’s Feature Service, 2003, Accessed November 30, 2013, <http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-809644641.html>.

[xvi] Hellmann-Rajanayagam, “Female Warriors, Martyrs, and Suicide Attackers,” 2.

[xvii] Yamuna Sangarasivam, “Militarizing the female body: women’s participation in the Tamil nationalist struggle,” in Violence and the Body: Race, Gender and the State, ed. Arturo J Aldama (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003), 65.

[xviii] M. Gronfors, “Gender, masculinity and violence in Sri Lanka,” Essays on social development & welfare in Sri Lanka, ed. Donald Chandraratna (Colombo: National Institute of Social     Development, 2002), 24.

[xix] Manchanda, “Sri Lanka: Culture Conflict for LTTE Women.”

[xx] Gronfors, “Gender, masculinity and violence in Sri Lanka,” 21.

[xxi] Hearth, Women in Terrorism, 163.

[xxii] Sangarasivam, “Militarizing the female body,”60.

[xxiii] Ibid.

[xxiv]Hellmann-Rajanayagam, “Female Warriors, Martyrs, and Suicide Attackers,” 10.

[xxv]Samarasinghe, “Soldiers, Housewives and Peace Makers”, 214.

[xxvi]Manchanda, “Women, war and peace in South Asia: Beyond victimhood to agency,”102.

[xxvii]Gowrinathan, “Why Do Women Rebel? Understanding State Repression and Female Participation in Sri Lanka”, 1.

[xxviii] De Mel, Women & the nation’s narrative, 206.

[xxix] Margaret Trawick, Reasons for violence: A preliminary ethnographic account of the LTTE.South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 20.s1 (1997): 170.

[xxx] Ibid.,171.

[xxxi] Ibid.,169.

[xxxii] De Mel, Women & the nation’s narrative, 224.

[xxxiii] Lori Grinker, After War: Veterans From A World In Conflict. (Millbrook: de. Mo, 2004), 22.

[xxxiv] Margaret Trawick, “Girls in the LTTE.” Enemy Lines: Childhood, Warfare, and Play in Batticaloa. (London: University of California Press, 2007), 168.

[xxxv] Ibid., 169.

[xxxvi] Hellmann-Rajanayagam, “Female Warriors, Martyrs, and Suicide Attackers,” 10.

[xxxvii] Manchanda, “Women, War, and Peace,” 115.

[xxxviii] Ibid., 113.

[xxxix] Christine Sixta. “The Illusive Third Wave: Are Female Terrorists the New “New Women” in Developing Societies?” Journal of Women, Politics & Policy 29.2 (2008): 264.

[xl] De Mel, Women & the nation’s narrative, 205.

[xli] Sixta, “The Illusive Third Wave”, 268.

[xlii] Manchanda, “Women, War, and Peace,” 114.

[xliii] Nimmi Gowrinathan, “How Women Rebel: Variation in Participation for Female Fighters in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.” N.d. TS, 179.

[xliv] Manchanda, “Women, War, and Peace,” 114.

[xlv] De Mel, Women & the nation’s narrative, 206.

[xlvi] Rita Manchanda, “Sri Lanka: Culture Conflict for LTTE Women,” 2003.

[xlvii] Adele Ann Balasingham, “Women Fighters of Liberation Tigers,” LTTE International Secretariat, January 1, 1993, accessed November 30, 2013, <http://tamilnation.co/books/Eelam/adeleann.htm>

[xlviii] Trawick, “Girls in the LTTE, 156.

[xlix] Shobha Gautam, Amrita Banskota, and Rita Manchanda, “Where there are no men: Women in the Maoist insurgency in Nepal,” Perspectives on Modern South Asia, Ed. Kamala Visweswaran. (West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 341.

[l] Rita Manchanda, “Maoist Insurgency in Nepal Radicalizing Gendered Narratives.” Cultural Dynamics 16.2-3 (2004): 237.

[li] Ibid., 247.

[lii] International Crisis Group. Sri Lanka: Women’s Insecurity in the North and East. Asia Briefing. No. 217. N.p., December 20, 2011, accessed November 20, 2013, <http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-asia/sri-lanka/217-sri-lanka-womens-insecurity-in-the-north-and-east.aspx>.

[liii]Gowrinathan, “How do Women Rebel,” 195.

[liv]International Crisis Group, “Sri Lanka”, 38.

[lv] Nimmi Gowrinathan, “How Women Rebel: Variation in Participation for Female Fighters in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,” N.d. TS, 17.


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