Women, Peace and Security: Moving Beyond Feminist Pacifism


Aroussi, Sahla. 2009. “Women, Peace and Security: Moving Beyond Feminist Pacifism.” Paper presented at Political Studies Association (UK) Annual Conference, Manchester, April 7-9.

Author: Sahla Aroussi


Many feminists have long rejected the argument of women's inherent pacifism as problematic and counterproductive. Yet, this notion has noticeably resurfaced within the current literature on women in conflict and peacebuilding especially after the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Feminists writing within these areas have represented women as mythical peacebuilders and romanticised their contributions to peace. They have also overemphasisied the existence of a common, feminist, socialist, pacifist agenda and overstated accounts of women's victimisation at the hands of violent and bellicose masculinity. The perisistence of such concepts arguably reinforces the hierarchical gender dichotomies regarding masculinity and femininity and as such sustains militarism, violence against women, inequality and the exclusion of women from the area of peace and security.

This paper will critique examples of current literature where the stereotype of feminist pacifism is to be found and explore some of the reasons behind the continued adherence to such idea. The paper argues that if we disconnect femininity from peace we would dismantle a major source of militarism. Deconstructing the stereotypes surrounding femininity and masculinity and the rejection of all kinds of biological explanations for gender behavioural differences in war and peace are necessary conditions for achieving equality and possibly peace.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Peace Processes, Security

Year: 2009

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.