Gender as National Interest at the UN Security Council


Basu, Soumita. 2016. “Gender as National Interest at the UN Security Council.” International Affairs 92 (2): 255–73. 

Author: Soumita Basu


The United Nations Security Council has often been identified as a key actor responsible for the uneven trajectory of the international Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. It is, however, the Council members—who also seek to advance their national interest at this intergovernmental forum—that are pivotal in the Council's deliberations and shape its policies. Yet, little attention has been paid to this aspect of deliberative politics at the Council in feminist scholarship on WPS. This article seeks to address this gap in the literature. It notes that gender has increasingly become part of foreign policy interests of UN member states, as evidenced by practices such as invocation of ‘women's rights’ and ‘gender equality’ in broader international security policy discourse. The article demonstrates that this national interest in gender has featured in WPS-related developments at the Security Council. Using specific illustrations, it examines three sets of member states: the permanent and non-permanent members as well as non-members invited to take part in Council meetings. The main argument of this article relates to highlighting member states’ interests underpinning their diplomatic activities around WPS issues in the Security Council, with the aim to present a fuller understanding of political engagements with UNSCR 1325, the first WPS resolution, in its institutional home.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, International Organizations, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325

Year: 2016

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