Women in the LTTE: Birds of Freedom or Cogs in the Wheel?

  •  Peng Wang    


The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is a preeminent separatist organization fighting for an independent and sovereign Tamil state in the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka. LTTE women’s involvement in the leadership and fighting forces of the group has given rise to fierce debates about whether the visibility of females in the LTTE fighting forces represented the ‘true’ liberation of the Tamil women and whether women would enjoy equal rights in the public during the post-conflict period. Actually, the Tamil Eelam is the overarching goal of the LTTE, and the emancipation of women has always been a secondary issue dependent on the liberation struggle. All the existing literature illustrates that the LTTE has been unsuccessful in creating the gender equality within the movement, and suggests that women have the right to achieve their emancipation and empowerment without linking to interests of the nationalist and ethnic struggles.

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