The Australian Foreign Policy White Paper, Gender and Conflict Prevention: Ties that Don’t Bind

Citation:

Agius, Christine, and Anu Mundkur. 2020. “The Australian Foreign Policy White Paper, Gender and Conflict Prevention: Ties that Don’t Bind.” Australian Journal of International Affairs 74 (3): 282-300.

Authors: Christine Agius, Anu Mundkur

Abstract:

After a 14-year gap, Australia’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper advanced a ‘comprehensive framework to advance Australia’s security and prosperity in a contested and competitive world’ (Australian Government 2017a, “2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.” https://www.fpwhitepaper.gov.au/., v). Focused on regional stability, partnerships and global cooperation, it identifies ‘risks and opportunities’ in an altered external environment. In this article, we argue that the neglect of gender and conflict prevention in the White Paper has implications for its stated aspirations with regard to peace and security. This is striking considering the attention that gender—particularly in the context of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda—has received in other policy areas and documents. Building on feminist security scholarship, conflict prevention approaches, and bringing in civil society voices, we argue that the White Paper contains a gendered, masculinist logic, separating domestic and international issues and paying insufficient attention to the structural and systemic causes of conflict. This article pursues a gender analysis in order to illuminate the gaps present in the White Paper and its limited vision of security and makes the case that conflict prevention from a gender perspective is key to sustainable peace, security and national interests.

Keywords: conflict prevention, Foreign Policy White Paper, Australia, gender, foreign policy, women, peace and security (WPS)

Topics: Civil Society, Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Peace and Security, Security Regions: Oceania Countries: Australia

Year: 2020

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