Gender Balance

The Internationalization of Security Sector Gender Reforms in Post-Conflict Countries


Huber, Laura, and Sabrina Karim. 2018. “The Internationalization of Security Sector Gender Reforms in Post-Conflict Countries.” Conflict Management and Peace Science 35 (3): 263–79.

Authors: Laura Huber, Sabrina Karim


With the passing of several UN Security Council Resolutions related to Women, Peace and Security (WPS), gender balancing security sector reforms (SSR)—or policies that ensure the equal participation of women in the security sector—have received increased global attention over the past two decades. However, to date, there is no explanation for variation in their adoption. This paper examines the internationalization of SSR gender reform, arguing that the presence of a peacekeeping mission within a post-conflic country affects the state’s resources and political will to adopt gender balancing reforms. We explore the effect of multidimensional peacekeeping using an original dataset on SSR in post-conflict countries, the Security Sector Reform Dataset (SSRD), from 1989 to 2012. We find that peacekeeping missions increase the probability that a state adopts gender balancing reforms in SSR. As the first cross-national quantitative examination of gender balancing reforms, these findings also shed light on the conditions under which states adopt security sector reforms more generally.

Keywords: security sector reform, gender, conflict, post conflict

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Peacekeeping, Post-Conflict, Security Sector Reform, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS

Year: 2018

Women in UN Peacekeeping Operations


Sabrina Karim. 2019. "Women in UN Peacekeeping Operations." In Women and Gender Perspectives in the Military: An International Comparison, edited by Robert Egnell and Mayesha Alam, 23-40. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

Author: Sabrina Karim


"This chapter explores the UN’s implementation of a gender perspective by asking three main questions. First, why were decisions made in the UN to include a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations? And who were the key decision makers in making changes in missions? Here the key insight is that attempts to bring attention to the women, peace, and security (WPS) agenda started in the 1990s, but the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 in 2000 set the stage for UN peacekeeping operations to ensure a gender perspective in all peacekeeping missions. Next, what does the integration of women and gender perspectives look like when it is operationalized in peacekeeping missions? DPKO has implemented UNSCR 1325 mainly through two mechanisms: gender balancing and gender mainstreaming. While gender mainstreaming may be a more holistic way to ensure that missions adopt a gender perspective, gender balancing has been a more popular route owing to expedience. Nevertheless, there are drawbacks to this approach, mainly that female peacekeepers are not able to reach their full potential because of the gendered structures that exist both in contributing country militaries and within the peacekeeping mission. While gender mainstreaming is perhaps a preferable tool, it suffers from inadequate conceptualization and has not been effective because of a pervasive male dominance within peacekeeping culture. 
Moving forward, an assessment of DPKO’s past strategy, achievements, and shortcomings is necessary to evaluate the potential for peacekeeping missions to lead in promoting gender issues globally. Because of its comparative advantage in implementing a gender perspective, the UN is regarded as a model for WPS efforts in the militaries of individual countries. Thus, to understand how the UN has implemented a gender perspective and the effects of such implementation, this chapter first explores the evolution of integrating a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations and provides an understanding of why decisions were made to include a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations in the 2000s. This historical tracing helps us understand how gender perspectives might be brought to national militaries. The chapter then demonstrates that the UN, policymakers, and some scholars opted to take an instrumentalist approach in justifying why a gendered approach was necessary. The next part of the chapter highlights how implementation occurred; the UN implemented both gender balancing and gender mainstreaming but has perhaps prioritized gender balancing because it is easier to measure. The chapter concludes with some of the existing challenges that remain to more fully integrate a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations." (Karim 2019, 23-24)

Topics: Gender, Gender Balance, Gender Mainstreaming, International Organizations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Peacekeeping, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325

Year: 2019

Gender Perspective in Water Management: The Involvement of Women in Participatory Water Institutions of Eastern India


Khandker, Varsha, Vasant P. Gandhi, and Nicky Johnson. 2020. “Gender Perspective in Water Management: The Involvement of Women in Participatory Water Institutions of Eastern India.” Water 12 (1): 196. 

Authors: Varsha Khandker, Vasant P. Gandhi, Nicky Johnson


The paper examines the extent, nature, and factors affecting women’s involvement in participatory irrigation institutions of eastern India. Effective participatory water institutions are urgently needed to improve water management in eastern India, and a significant aspect of this is the involvement of women. There is inadequate representation, participation, and involvement of women in most water institutions. From the participatory and social point of view, this is a significant concern. The relevant data are obtained from the states of Assam and Bihar through a focused survey administered to 109 women in 30 water institutions, and a larger farmer-institutional survey covering 510 households and 51 water institutions. The research examines the extent and nature of the involvement of women in these institutions, as well as in farm decision-making, and the factors that prevent or foster their participation. Additionally, it examines the gender congruence in views regarding water institution activities and their performance, and the perceived benefits of formal involvement of women. The results show that their inclusion is very low (except required inclusion in Bihar), and the concerns of women are usually not being taken into account. Women are involved in farming and water management decisions jointly with men but not independently. Findings indicate that the views of women and men differ on many aspects, and so their inclusion is important. Responses indicate that if women participate formally in water user associations, it would enhance their social and economic standing, achieve greater gender balance, expand their awareness of water management, and contribute to better decision-making in the water institutions.

Keywords: water, women, gender, participatory irrigation institutions, India

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Households, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Political Participation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2020

Towards a 'Women-Oriented' Approach to Post-Conflict Policing: Interpreting National Experience(s) and Intergovernmental Aspirations


Strobl, Staci. 2020. “Towards a ‘Women-Oriented’ Approach to Post-Conflict Policing: Interpreting National Experience(s) and Intergovernmental Aspirations.” International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 9 (1): 95-111.

Author: Staci Strobl


In regard to the United Nations’ (UN) framework for promoting gender equality in policing, including women in national police forces remains a global challenge. Even countries possessing a stable history of women’s involvement reveal that women are significantly under-represented in policing when compared to other professions—even though prior research has strongly suggested that women are important actors in establishing post-conflict democratic order. This article outlines the political, social and institutional challenges that are faced to achieve significant gender representation in national police forces. It also recommends countering these challenges by using a ‘women-oriented’ approach. Such an approach does not merely fulfil the aspirational UN goals of achieving greater gender balance, it also yields many practical advantages for improving policing, including 1) leveraging the unique skills that women offer in policing, 2) making better use of force decisions, 3) combatting police corruption and 4) increasing the gender responsiveness of police. Finally, several operational strategies for promoting more women into policing are suggested.

Topics: Corruption, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Security Sector Reform

Year: 2020

Women in Disasters and Conflicts in India: Interventions in View of the Millennium Development Goals


Bhadra, Subhasis. 2017. “Women in Disasters and Conflicts in India: Interventions in View of the Millennium Development Goals.” International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 8 (2): 196–207.

Author: Subhasis Bhadra


The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with their holistic perspective of development are focused on different issues of vulnerability. This article highlights the situation of women in disasters and the challenges in achieving the MDGs with special reference to India. It is accepted that there is no disaster without human engagement and that issues of differential impact on genders is an essential consideration for recovery. The international guidelines on disaster management and intervention have a considerable focus on gender equality, balance, mainstreaming, and sensitive programing, yet the situation is quite grim. India still lacks separate policy guidelines on gender aspects in disaster. In the twenty-first century, India has witnessed a series of disasters in different parts of the country. The author’s personal experiences of working in intervention programs of these disasters showed that gender vulnerability depends on various factors like the intensity of the disaster impact, local sociocultural perspectives, effective disaster intervention strategies, the specific focus on issues of women in training of personnel, and gender-sensitive disaster intervention programs in the community. In the context of the MDGs, while development has become a priority concern to end age-old inequalities in society, the added challenge of disasters needs considerable focus on gender inequalities to achieve the goal of gender equity.

Keywords: Disaster intervention strategies, gender inequalities, gender vulnerability, India, Millennium Development Goals

Topics: Development, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Humanitarian Assistance Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2017

Gender and Policy Agendas in the Post-War House


Atkinson, Mary Layton. 2017. “Gender and Policy Agendas in the Post-War House.” Policy Studies Journal, 1-23. doi: 10.1111/psj.12237.

Author: Mary Layton Atkinson


For decades, critical mass theory shaped expectations about the ways female politicians would behave in office. Newer studies, however, have challenged the theory's premise that “token” women will avoid championing women's interests while women serving in more gender‐diverse bodies will work together to advance them. In fact, many in the discipline now believe it is time to leave the idea of critical mass behind. These new studies have significantly advanced our knowledge of the link between women's descriptive and substantive representation. But the move away from critical mass leaves unresolved the question of how female legislators will adapt their policy priorities based on changes in the size of the female delegation. I seek to answer this question and hypothesize that the more women who serve in Congress, the less attention each female member of Congress will give to women's issues, and the more diverse the female agenda will become. This diversification should not, however, result in lower overall levels of attention to women's issues. Because responsibility for substantive representation is shared, with each woman continuing to contribute as the delegation grows, the women's agenda can diversify while attention to women's issues actually increases. An analysis of bill sponsorship data spanning 60 years provides support for my theory. I show that when the size of the female delegation grows, women increase both the breadth and depth of their collective legislative agenda—simultaneously offering increased substantive representation and representation across a wider range of topics.

Keywords: policy agendas, substantive representation, women in Congress

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Gender Mainstreaming, Governance, Quotas, Political Participation Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2017

Producing Participants: Gender, Race, Class, and Women, Peace and Security


Martin de Almagro, Maria. 2017. "Producing Participants: Gender, Race, Class, and Women, Peace and Security." Global Society. doi: 10.1080/13600826.2017.1380610.

Author: Maria Martin de Almagro


Recent efforts to implement the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and the creation of National Action Plans (NAPs) in post-conflict countries have resulted in a set of international policy discourses and practices on gender, peace and security. Critics have challenged the WPS agenda for its focus on “adding women and stir” and its failure to be transformative. This article contributes to this debate by showing that the implementation of the WPS agenda is not only about adding women, but also about gendering in racialised, sexualised and classed ways. Drawing on poststructuralist and postcolonial feminist theory and on extensive fieldwork in post-conflict contexts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi and Liberia, the article examines the subject position of the woman participant. I demonstrate how NAPs normalise certain subject positions in the Global South while rendering invisible and troubling others, contributing to (re)producing certain forms of normativity and hierarchy through a powerful set of policy practices. Deconstructing such processes of discursive inclusion and exclusion of troubled representations is essential as it allows for the identification of sites of contestation and offers a better understanding of the everyday needs and experiences of those the WPS agenda regulates.

Topics: Class, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Peace and Security, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Race, Rights, Women's Rights, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia

Year: 2017

Sex and World Peace


Hudson, Valerie M., Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Mary Caprioli, and Chad F. Emmett. 2012. Sex and World Peace. New York: Columbia University Press.

Authors: Valerie M. Hudson, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Mary Caprioli, Chad F. Emmett


Sex and World Peace unsettles a variety of assumptions in political and security discourse, demonstrating that the security of women is a vital factor in the security of the state and its incidence of conflict and war. The authors compare micro-level gender violence and macro-level state peacefulness in global settings, supporting their findings with detailed analyses and color maps. Harnessing an immense amount of data, they call attention to discrepancies between national laws protecting women and the enforcement of those laws, and they note the adverse effects on state security of abnormal sex ratios favoring males, the practice of polygamy, and inequitable realities in family law, among other gendered aggressions. The authors find that the treatment of women informs human interaction at all levels of society. Their research challenges conventional definitions of security and democracy and shows that the treatment of gender, played out on the world stage, informs the true clash of civilizations. In terms of resolving these injustices, the authors examine top-down and bottom-up approaches to healing wounds of violence against women, as well as ways to rectify inequalities in family law and the lack of parity in decision-making councils. Emphasizing the importance of an R2PW, or state responsibility to protect women, they mount a solid campaign against women's systemic insecurity, which effectively unravels the security of all. (Summary from Columbia University Press)
Table of Contents
1. Roots of National and International Interests
2. What Is There to See
3. When We Do See the Global Picture
4. The Heart of the Matter: The Security of Women and the Security of States
5. Wings of National and International Relations
6. Wings of National and International Relations 
7. Taking Wing 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Conflict Prevention, Domestic Violence, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Gender Balance, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Peace and Security, Governance, Constitutions, Quotas, Political Participation, Rights, Reproductive Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Violence, Weapons /Arms

Year: 2012

The ‘Un-Womanly’ Attitudes of Women in Mining towards the Environment


Laplonge, Dean. 2017. “The ‘Un-Womanly’ Attitudes of Women in Mining towards the Environment.” The Extractive Industries and Society 4 (2): 304-9. 

Author: Dean Laplonge


In this paper I explore whether the employment of more women in mining will result in improved environmental management and practices in that industry. The debate about gender in mining regularly includes claims that the employment of more women will help change the industry. These claims rely on essentialist ideas about how women behave, and fail to consider the production of masculinity as the preferred gender for all mining employees. Drawing on the results of a survey which explores the attitudes of women who work in mining towards the environment, I conclude that the sex of employees is not the best indicator of possible change in environmental management and practices in the industry. Women who work in mining do not display a particularly strong or unique connection to the environment which would encourage them to drive change in their workplaces. In conclusion, I suggest that ecofeminism might offer better hope of improved environmental practices in mining; and call for more work to be done to explore how this might work in mining operations.

Keywords: gender, mining, management, environment

Topics: Environment, Extractive Industries, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis, Gender Balance

Year: 2017

Challenging Masculinity in CSR Disclosures: Silencing of Women’s Voices in Tanzania’s Mining Industry


Lauwo, Sarah. 2016. “Challenging Masculinity in CSR Disclosures: Silencing of Women’s Voices in Tanzania’s Mining Industry.” Journal of Business Ethics, 1–18. doi:10.1007/s10551-016-3047-4.

Author: Sarah Lauwo


This paper presents a feminist analysis of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in a male-dominated industry within a developing country context. It seeks to raise awareness of the silencing of women’s voices in CSR reports produced by mining companies in Tanzania. Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in Africa, and women are often marginalised in employment and social policy considerations. Drawing on work by Hélène Cixous, a post-structuralist/radical feminist scholar, the paper challenges the masculinity of CSR discourses that have repeatedly masked the voices and concerns of ‘other’ marginalised social groups, notably women. Using interpretative ethnographic case studies, the paper provides much-needed empirical evidence to show how gender imbalances remain prevalent in the Tanzanian mining sector. This evidence draws attention to the dynamics faced by many women working in or living around mining areas in Tanzania. The paper argues that CSR, a discourse enmeshed with the patriarchal logic of the contemporary capitalist system, is entangled with tensions, class conflicts and struggles which need to be unpacked and acknowledged. The paper considers the possibility of policy reforms in order to promote gender balance in the Tanzanian mining sector and create a platform for women’s concerns to be voiced.

Keywords: masculinity, feminism, Cixous, corporate social responsibility, mining, Tanzania

Topics: Class, Extractive Industries, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Tanzania

Year: 2016


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