The Power of Mixed Messages: Women, Peace, and Security Language in National Action Plans from Africa

Citation:

Hudson, Heidi. 2017. “The Power of Mixed Messages: Women, Peace, and Security Language in National Action Plans from Africa.” Africa Spectrum 52 (3): 3-29.

Author: Heidi Hudson

Abstract:

Against the backdrop of global and continental women, peace, and security discourses, this contribution analyses the gender and women-focused language of national action plans from four African countries (Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Uganda), which were drafted with a view to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. I argue that national action plans have the potential to transcend the soft-consensus language of Security Council resolutions because they create new spaces for feminist engagement with policy and practice. The analysis reveals three discursive themes – namely, the making of “womenandchildren,” women civilising war, and making women responsible for preventing gender-based violence. The themes relate to the construction of, respectively, gender(ed) identities, security, and violence. To varying degrees, the plans reflect a combination of predominantly liberal-feminist language interspersed with some examples of critical insight. I conclude that the ambiguous nature of the messages sent out by these plans serves as a reminder that discourses are fragmented and therefore offer an opening for nuanced contextual analyses and implementation.

Keywords: Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda, peace and conflict research, women, women's politics, action programmes/action plans, UN Security Council Resolution (2000-10-31)

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Gender-Based Violence, peace and security, Peacebuilding, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda

Year: 2017

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