Can Women Make a Difference? Female Peacekeepers in Bosnia and Kosovo


Sion, Liora. 2009. “Can Women Make a Difference? Female Peacekeepers in Bosnia and Kosovo.” Commonwealth & Comparative Politics 47 (4): 476-93.

Author: Liora Sion


By using participant observation, this article analyses the participation of women in peacekeeping missions through the experience of Dutch female peacekeepers in Bosnia and Kosovo in 1999–2000. Its argument is threefold. First, it argues that although peacekeeping is a relatively new military model it reproduces the same traditional combat-oriented mindset of gender roles. Therefore, women are limited in their ability to contribute to peace missions. Second, because peacekeeping missions are perceived by peacekeepers as rather feminine, they are seen as a challenge to male combat and masculine identity. As a result, soldiers reject the participation of women and perceive them as endangering even further the missions’ prestige. Third, despite the shared difficulties, women do not support each other and tend to view the other women in a stereotypical way. This contributes to their isolation and self-disapproval.

Topics: Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Peacekeeping Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo

Year: 2009

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