Gender and the Security Sector: Towards a More Secure Future

Citation:

Arostegui, Julie L. 2015. "Gender and the Security Sector: Towards a More Secure Future." Connections 14 (3): 7-30.

Author: Julie L. Arostegui

Annotation:

Summary: 
In recent decades, the nature of war has changed dramatically. Internal conflicts are being waged by opposing armed groups, often divided along ideological or ethnic lines that increasingly target civilians and wreak havoc on society with severe physical, psychological, social, political, and economic consequences. With the changed nature of conflict has come an increasing demand to consider its varied effects on women and girls, men and boys, and to address their specific needs before, during, and after conflict. There is also an increasing awareness of the importance of including women in peace and security processes. Women are 50 percent of the population and a critical part of society and, without them, real and sustainable peace cannot be achieved. They are not merely victims of conflict; they also play active roles as combatants, peace builders, politicians, and activists, and are often in the strongest position to bring about peace in their communities. Women around the world have emerged as voices of peace, mobilizing across communities and using their social roles and networks to mediate and mitigate violence. They have demanded attention to the complex issues of peace and peace building, and the needs of the communities involved, rather than to just cease-fires and power sharing. The international community has responded with a framework for addressing women, peace, and security, which includes United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions and binding international law. Regional bodies such as the European Union, NATO, and the African Union have also developed strong frameworks around gender equality and women’s rights in order to build sustainable peace, driven by advocacy by women’s groups and the experiences of conflict. With these changes has also come a paradigm shift in the concept of security from one of state security to human security. Whereas traditionally security involved the protection of borders and state sovereignty, the modern concept of security addresses the security of individuals and communities. It broadens both the nature of security threats such as poverty, discrimination, gender-based violence, lack of democracy and marginalization, and the actors involved, including non-state actors and civil society. It means creating societies that can withstand instability and conflict. It is more than the absence of armed conflict; it is an environment where individuals can thrive.2 A security sector that is based in human security takes into account the differing needs of men, women, boys, and girls, and ensures that the full and equal participation of women addresses the needs of all of the population and helps to establish a more peaceful and secure society. Integrating a gender perspective into the security sector is essential: 1) to abide by universally accepted human rights principles; 2) because when both men and women are involved in decision-making processes, there are better outcomes; and 3) using gender perspectives and mainstreaming increases operational effectiveness" (Arostegui 2015, 7-8).

Topics: Armed Conflict, "New Wars", Civil Society, Democracy / Democratization, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Law, International Organizations, Peace and Security, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Human Security, Security Sector Reform, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS

Year: 2015

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