(2014). Thin ice: postcoloniality and sexuality in the politics of citizenship and military service.
In: Ponsanezi, Sandra ed.
Gender, Globalisation and Violence: Postcolonial Conflict Zones.
Routledge Advances in Feminist Studies and Intersectionality.
Abingdon: Routledge, (In press).
In September 2012 the British media was agog at the news that a female soldier, serving in Afghanistan was rushed into emergency care where she gave birth to a baby five weeks prematurely. Much was made of the fact that the medical team was not equipped to handle obstetrics which meant that qualified pediatric staff had to travel from the UK with an incubator. The woman, Lance Bombardier Lynette Pearce, was described as ‘unknowingly’ pregnant having conceived shortly before deployment to Helmand (Hough & Pearlman 2012). Along with the routine medical explanations as to how pregnancy can be undetected for so long, commentary also dwelt on the question whether women should have a routine urine test before serving on the front line. It soon emerged that up to 200 British female soldiers had been ‘aero medically evacuated’ from war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq because of pregnancy over the previous five years (Hough & Farmer 2012). The coverage was in stark contract to a feature that ran just a few weeks earlier which highlighted the use of female soldiers in Afghanistan as a ‘secret weapon’ (Baskerville 2012).
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