The Futures Past of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda

Citation:

Kirby, Paul, and Laura J. Shepherd. 2016. “The Futures Past of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.” International Affairs 92 (2): 373–92. doi:10.1111/1468-2346.12549.

 

Author: Paul Kirby and Laura J. Shepherd

Abstract:

The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda has developed at the United Nations over the course of the past 15 years, and there have been critical engagements with it for nearly as long. In this article, we first take stock of the operationalization of the WPS agenda, reviewing its implementation across a number of sectors. In the second section, we expose the tensions that have marked the WPS agenda from the start. With others, we argue that there has been a narrowing of the agenda’s original scope, reducing it to the traditional politics of security rather than reimagining what security means. We highlight this reduction primarily through an analysis of the tension between the ‘participation’ and ‘protection’ pillars of the agenda. Further, we argue that the WPS agenda faces a current challenge in terms of the actors entrusted with it. Although in some ways involving civil society, the consolidations and implementation of WPS principles at the national and international levels have become increasingly state-centric. Third, we imagine some possible futures of the agenda, from a trajectory characterized by increasing marginalization or even irrelevance, to new avenues like the emergent, albeit tenta- tive, ‘Men, Peace and Security’ agenda. We close with an argument for a revival of the WPS agenda beyond a fixation on states, beyond a narrow heteronormative or essentialist focus on the ‘Women’ of the WPS resolutions, and moving towards the radical reimagining of security as peace that inspired the original architects of these important resolutions. 

 

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Peacebuilding, Security

Year: 2016

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