Nigeria : Women and the Boko Haram Insurgency
The experiences of women and girls in the North East are analyzed in this report, in order to inform interventions to better alleviate their suffering, facilitate their contribution to lasting peace and mitigate the threat from female Boko Haram members. Patriarchal norms are examined, which the sect exploited to attract recruits and tracks the diverse, changing female roles, as valuable abductees, combatants’ wives and slaves, forced or willing fighters, heads of displaced families, community leaders, mothers, wives and daughters. Policy priorities are identified, which are tailored to women’s experiences, including immediate humanitarian aid and protection, longer-term reintegration into normal life of those stigmatized by Boko Haram association and women’s roles in a peaceful North East. The analysis is based on research in the North East, the federal capital, Abuja, and south-eastern Niger with Boko Haram victims, captives or supporters, as well as community leaders, government officials, humanitarian workers and academics. Scores of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees were interviewed in formal and informal camps in Nigeria and Niger and a rehabilitation centre for ex-sect members in Maiduguri, as well as Boko Haram suspects held in Niger.