In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Women and Peacemaking/Peacekeeping

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Gender and Peacemaking
  • Gender Mainstreaming

International Relations Women and Peacemaking/Peacekeeping
Sabrina Karim, Kyle Beardsley
  • LAST MODIFIED: 21 January 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199743292-0146


Peacemaking and peacekeeping are most often used in the context of a negative definition of peace—the absence of or relative reduction of violent conflict. Studies of peacemaking thus typically describe and analyze the means by which periods of armed conflict move toward periods with less armed conflict, such as through negotiation, mediation, bargaining, confidence building, disengagement, etc. Studies of peacekeeping similarly describe and analyze the means by which relatively low levels of armed conflict can be maintained and relapses of violent episodes can be prevented. In addition, peacekeeping typically refers specifically to the use of third-party enforcement as a means to stabilize tenuous but relatively peaceful security environments. Peacekeeping in this context involves the deployment of third-party military personnel. “Multidimensional peacekeeping” missions also include civilian and police “peacebuilding” elements that focus on cultivating the development of political and economic institutions and advising transitional justice processes, as well as disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration activities. The study of gender and the study of armed conflict (and the resolution thereof) intersect on a number of dimensions. Gender perspectives have been used to advance our understanding of the occurrence of war, patterns of violence, the efficacy of peace processes, and the legacies of violence in post-conflict periods. We not only cover works directly related to women and peacemaking and peacekeeping but we also contextualize this literature within the broader literature on gender and war, sexual violence in conflict, women and peacemaking, women and peace building, masculinities in peacekeeping operations, gender representation in national-security sectors, sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations, and gender mainstreaming. In doing so, we provide a more thorough understanding of the role women play in post-conflict settings. Moreover, by considering the role gender plays in peacemaking and peacebuilding, the literature is better able to speak beyond a negative definition of peace and to incorporate more-positive conceptions of peace that prioritize gender equality, consideration of the victims of violence, social justice, and other issues fundamental to a high quality of peace.

General Overviews

Several studies provide a general overview of women and peacemaking/peacekeeping. Olsson and Tryggestad 2001, an edited volume, is one of the earliest attempts to examine the role of female peacekeepers in peacekeeping missions and includes articles ranging from gender stereotypes about women and peacemaking to the evolution of women in peacekeeping. Another edited volume, Mazurana, et al. 2005, highlights the importance of gender mainstreaming in international peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations. Whitworth 2007 highlights the importance of understanding the integration of women in peacekeeping missions within the context of militarized masculinities. Kronsell 2012 argues that the integration of women into international peacekeeping missions is a part of a new “postnational” defense or, rather, a part of a shift in how militaries see their identities given the changed nature of the international system. Gizelis and Olsson 2015, an edited volume that follows up on Olsson and Gizelis 2013, provides a systematic evaluation of all parts of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, more than a decade after its adoption. Shepherd 2008 highlights the evolution of UNSCR 1325.

  • Gizelis, Theodora-Ismene, and Louise Olsson, eds. Gender, Peace and Security: Implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution. New York: Routledge, 2015.

    E-mail Citation »

    Brings together a collection of contributions that evaluate the implementation of USCSR 1325 on a number of dimensions. The volume particularly focuses on three themes: participation, protection, and gender mainstreaming.

  • Kronsell, Annica. Gender, Sex, and the Postnational Defense: Militarism and Peacekeeping. Oxford Studies in Gender and International Relations. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199846061.001.0001E-mail Citation »

    Explores what gender means in the context of postnational defense, or a military system where less attention is paid to the defense of the territory and more to the security situation outside its borders, such as through peacekeeping missions. Kronsell uses Sweden and the European Union (EU) as empirical cases to demonstrate how gender has influenced the way that the postnational defense organizes its practices and the policies pursued. She concludes that gender has been mainstreamed in postnational military practices but at the same time reinterpreted as meaning women, often also women in distant places.

  • Mazurana, Dyan, Angela Raven-Roberts, and Jane Parpart, eds. Gender, Conflict, and Peacekeeping. War and Peace Library. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.

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    Examines the importance of gender mainstreaming and traces the evolution of gender mainstreaming in various post-conflict contexts, such as in political emergencies and international intervention, peacekeeping missions, international humanitarian and human rights law, and peacemaking and peacebuilding.

  • Olsson, Louise, and Theodora-Ismene Gizelis. “An Introduction to UNSCR 1325.” In Special Issue: A Systematic Understanding of Gender, Peace, and Security—Implementing UNSCR 1325. International Interactions 39.4 (2013): 425–434.

    DOI: 10.1080/03050629.2013.805327E-mail Citation »

    Asks and answers a number of questions: What affects women’s participation in peace processes and in peace operations? How are women and men protected from the broader effects of conflict and of international interventions? It finds that UNSC 1325 has been only partly implemented.

  • Olsson, Louise, and Torrun L. Tryggestad, eds. Women and International Peacekeeping. Cass Series on Peacekeeping. New York: Routledge, 2001.

    E-mail Citation »

    Provides an edited volume that includes chapters on gender stereotypes, a history of women in peacekeeping, challenges in peacekeeping operations (such as addressing sexual violence), a case study on the Norwegian Battalion in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) mission in 1978–1998, and gender mainstreaming.

  • Shepherd, Laura J. “Power and Authority in the Production of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.” International Studies Quarterly 52.2 (2008): 383–404.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2008.00506.xE-mail Citation »

    Compares and contrasts the involvement of the United Nations Security Council and the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security in writing UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The article concludes that the implementation of UNSC 1325 is particularly challenging due to the process through which the document was created.

  • Whitworth, Sandra. Men, Militarism, and UN Peacekeeping: A Gendered Analysis. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2007.

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    Highlights the potential fundamental contradiction between portrayals of peacekeepers as peacemakers and the militarized masculinity that underpins the group identity of soldiers. Examining evidence from Cambodia and Somalia, Whitworth argues that sexual and other crimes can be seen as expressions of a violent hypermasculinity that is congruent with militarized identities but entirely incongruent with missions aimed at maintaining peace. She also asserts that early efforts within the UN to address gender issues in peacekeeping operations failed because they did not challenge traditional understandings of militaries, conflict, and women.

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