Securing the 'Gender Legitimacy' of the UN Security Council: Prising Gender from Its Historical Moorings

Citation:

Otto, Dianne. 2004. “Securing the 'Gender Legitimacy' of the UN Security Council: Prising Gender from Its Historical Moorings.” Legal Studies Research Paper 92, Faculty of Law, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne.

Author: Dianne Otto

Abstract:

Recent feminist efforts to engage with the UN Security Council might well be dismissed as a futile attempt to employ the master's tools to dismantle the master's house. That these efforts have born fruit, was evidenced by the Council's unanimous adoption of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in October 2000. Since its adoption, the Resolution has been the focus of continuing engagement between women's peace advocates and the Council. 
 
The Resolution can be understood as one of a range of measures adopted by the Council in an effort to tackle its legitimacy deficit; specifically, its gender legitimacy. While the Resolution's promotion of the increased involvement of women in decision-making opens the possibility of clawing back some of the ground lost to military ways of thinking, and legitimating emancipatory understandings of peace based on gender equality and social justice, it also runs the risk of lending a renewed legitimacy to the old ways of getting things done, just as women's participation in the colonial civilizing mission helped to make imperialism possible.  
 
The examples of Afghanistan and East Timor, reveal that there has been slow but measured progress towards increasing the participation of women in formal decision-making processes, and that the progress that has been made has depended in large part on the extensive mobilization of local and trans-national women's peace networks. At the same time, most Afghan and East Timorese women were unaffected by the increased formal participation of women, as they faced heightened levels of gendered violence and economic insecurity. This experience confirms the need use the Resolution to move beyond issues of participation, important as they are, to changing the militarized and imperial gender stereotypes that have played such a central role in maintaining militarism and the secondary status of women. Only then will the Council's deficit in gender legitimacy be reversed in an emancipatory way. (Abstract from Social Sciences Research Network) 

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Peace and Security, International Organizations, Militarism, Political Participation, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Asia, South Asia, Oceania Countries: Afghanistan, Timor-Leste

Year: 2004

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