Making a Difference in Peacekeeping Operations: Voices of South African Women Peacekeepers


Alchin, Angela, Amanda Gouws, and Lindy Heinecken. 2018. "Making a Difference in Peacekeeping Operations: Voices of South African Women Peacekeepers." African Security Review 27 (1): 1-19.

Authors: Angela Alchin, Amanda Gouws, Lindy Heinecken


Recruiting more women into peacekeeping operations due to the perceived unique contributions they are said to make missions has been widely advocated by the United Nations (UN) and other agencies as a means to overcome the unintended consequents of deployments - mainly the ongoing reports of sexual abuse of locals by male soldiers. However, taking into account the broader gender debates surrounding women's contributions to peacekeeping, and by considering the experiences of women in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), the study reveals the challenges women face in realising these widely advocated contributions. These challenges include the current recruiting processes, the self-perception of female soldiers, the deeply patriarchal ideologies within South African society, and the hyper-masculine culture which overwhelms the military. The study concludes that, for women to be properly utilised, a reassment of recruitment processes in the SANDF is necessary, gender training should be prioritised, and an androgynous soldier identity should be advocated. 

Keywords: feminism, peacekeepers, peacekeeping, female peacekeepers, security studies, SANDF, South African peacekeepers, UN peacekeeping

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, International Organizations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peacekeeping, Peace and Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2018

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