Contesting Feminism’s Institutional Doubles: Troubling the Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security Agenda


Otto, Dianne. 2019. "Contesting Feminism’s Institutional Doubles: Troubling the Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security Agenda." In Governance Feminism: Notes from the Field, edited by Janet Halley, Prabha Kotiswaran, Rachel Rebouché, and Hila Shamir, 200-29. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Author: Dianne Otto


"In early 2000, feminist peace activists embarked on an ambitious new strategy of engagement with institutional power, from within rather than from outside the international military and diplomatic establishment, when the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) led a coalition of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) hoping to persuade the UN Security Council to adopt a thematic resolution on women, peace, and security (WPS). Previously, the Council had shown almost no interest in women except, commencing with the 1990s conflicts in the Balkans, as victims of conflict-related sexual violence. That the Council responded positively to the efforts of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (hereafter referred to simply as the NGO Working Group) and unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 (SCR 1325) on October 31, 2000, came as a surprise to me, although, as I will explain, I have since realized that there was much for the Council to gain by (re)presenting itself as feminist-friendly. I have also been astonished by the remarkable institutional productivity that has followed the adoption of SCR 1325. Not only has it prompted annual Security Council debates on WPS and annual Secretary-General’s Reports since 2004; it has led to a further seven resolutions on this theme (as of October 2016). Cascades of gender policies, training manuals, checklists, indicators, benchmarks, targets, studies, and reports have also followed, as well as many new positions established for “gender experts,” including the special representative of the secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict and Gender Advisory Teams deployed by UN Peacekeeping to all multidimensional peacekeeping operations" (Otto 2019, 200-1).

Topics: Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, International Organizations, Peacebuilding, Political Participation, Peacekeeping, Sexual Violence, SV against Women, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, UNSCR 1820, UNSCR 1888, UNSCR 1889, UNSCR 1960, UNSCR 2106, UNSCR 2122, UNSCR 2242

Year: 2019

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