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International Organizations

Women participants in Conflict

International Law, COVID-19 and Feminist Engagement with the United Nations Security Council: The End of the Affair


O’Rourke, Catherine. 2020. “International Law, COVID-19 and Feminist Engagement with the United Nations Security Council: The End of the Affair?” Feminist Legal Studies 28 (3): 321-8.

Author: Catherine O'Rourke


The gendered implications of COVID-19, in particular in terms of gender-based violence and the gendered division of care work, have secured some prominence, and ignited discussion about prospects for a ‘feminist recovery’. In international law terms, feminist calls for a response to the pandemic have privileged the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), conditioned—I argue—by two decades of the pursuit of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda through the UNSC. The deficiencies of the UNSC response, as characterised by the Resolution 2532 adopted to address the pandemic, manifest yet again the identified deficiencies of the WPS agenda at the UNSC, namely fragmentation, securitisation, efficacy and legitimacy. What Resolution 2532 does bring, however, is new clarity about the underlying reasons for the repeated and enduring nature of these deficiencies at the UNSC. Specifically, the COVID-19 ‘crisis’ is powerful in exposing the deficiencies of the crisis framework in which the UNSC operates. My reflections draw on insights from Hilary Charlesworth’s seminal contribution ‘International Law: A Discipline of Crisis’ to argue that, instead of conceding the ‘crisis’ framework to the pandemic by prioritising the UNSC, a ‘feminist recovery’ must instead follow Charlesworth’s exhortation to refocus on an international law of the everyday.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Health, International Law, International Organizations, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS

Year: 2020

Converging on Disaster: Climate Security and the Malthusian Anticipatory Regime for Africa


Hartmann, Betsy. 2014. “Converging on Disaster: Climate Security and the Malthusian Anticipatory Regime for Africa.” Geopolitics 19 (4): 757–83.

Author: Betsy Hartmann


Malthus’s privileging of population growth as the main cause of poverty, scarcity and war still resonates widely in both the public policy arena and popular culture. It shapes dominant discourses about the relationship between climate change, conflict and security in Africa. This article examines what I call the Malthusian Anticipatory Regime for Africa (MARA). MARA represents the convergence of current international strategies for reducing high fertility in sub-Saharan Africa through long-acting female contraception with climate conflict narratives that blame environmental degradation on population pressure and portray young African men as a security threat. Together these serve as a powerful gendered rationale for Western humanitarian and military interventions. MARA also plays a role in justifying the new land enclosures on the continent. How can critical scholarship more effectively challenge MARA and intervene in the politics of anticipating the future?

Topics: Conflict, Economies, Poverty, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations, Rights, Reproductive Rights, Security Regions: Africa

Year: 2014

Gender Issues in the Multilateral Trading System


Williams, Mariama. 2012. “Gender Issues in the Multilateral Trading System.” In The Feminist Economics of Trade, edited by Irene van Staveren, Diane Elson, Caren Grown, and Nilüfer Çagatay, 295-309. New York: Routledge.

Author: Mariama Williams


"The most comprehensive trade agreements are negotiated globally through the World Trade Organization (WTO). The gender dimensions of some key agreements are discussed in Chapter 14, “Gender issues in the multilateral trading system” by Mariama Williams. Particular attention is paid to the Agreement on Agriculture, the General Agreement on Trade in Services, and the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement. Williams shows how these Agreements are implicated in undermining the livelihoods of women self-employed farmers in poor countries and have the potential to jeopardize poor women’s health and their ability to ensure good health for their families. The chapter concludes with suggestions on how gender inequality can be addressed in some of the measures that are allowable under the WTO rules for mitigating adverse effects of trade liberalization. It also makes clear that a gender-equitable multilateral trading system requires a different set of core principles" (Elson, Grown & van Staveren 2012, 8).

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, International Organizations, Livelihoods

Year: 2012

The Question of Gender and Human Security in Africa’s Extractive Industries


Andrews, Nathan, and Charis Enns. 2020. "The Question of Gender and Human Security in Africa’s Extractive Industries." In The Palgrave Handbook of African Political Economy, edited by Toyin Falola and Samuel Ojo Oloruntoba, 725-37. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Authors: Nathan Andrews, Charis Enns


The growing presence of extractive companies in rural and remote spaces across sub-Saharan Africa has been an important subject of public and academic debate. Yet, these debates have often been ‘gender-free’, neglecting to consider the relationship between the presence of extractive companies and the everyday and structural violence experienced by women in local communities. In this chapter, we argue that the security threats created by intensifying extractive activities in these areas are often gendered. Drawing upon fieldwork data collected in Ghana and Kenya between January 2013 and March 2015, the chapter raises concerns about the lack of adequate policy responses to the gendered implications of resource extraction and associated insecurity, despite growing evidence that extractive activities have differential impacts across gender identities. While many local-level security challenges relating to resource extraction have been elevated into the realm of international security concerns, the real and pressing gendered security threats caused by extractive activities have yet to be widely acknowledged by international actors. Thus, our analysis of the gendered threats to human security created by extractive companies at the local level draws attention to inequalities in the human security agenda at both local and global levels, as well as in both theory and in practice.

Topics: Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, International Organizations, Security, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana, Kenya

Year: 2020

When Are Women Deployed? Operational Uncertainty and Deployment of Female Personnel to UN Peacekeeping


Tidblad-Lundholm, Kajsa. 2020. “When Are Women Deployed? Operational Uncertainty and Deployment of Female Personnel to UN Peacekeeping.” International Peacekeeping 27 (4): 673–702.

Author: Kajsa Tidblad-Lundholm


This study explores how the duration of missions affects the participation of women in United Nations (UN) peace operations. I argue that women are less likely to be deployed in the early stages of missions because new missions are associated with high levels of operational uncertainty, which is ultimately a type of risk. Instead, women’s participation will increase over time as the uncertainty decreases and the operating environment becomes more predictable. In an extended analysis, I also explore if the level of gender equality in a troop contributing country affects the decision to deploy women to the early phases of missions. Applying a large-N approach, I study the proportion of women in military contributions to UN peace operations between 2009 and 2015. Using a set of multilevel mixed-effects generalized linear models, the main argument find empirical support. However, when the robustness of the findings is challenged, there is indication that there could be additional factors that affect operational uncertainty and the perceived risk associated with an operating environment. The result of the extended analysis indicate that more gender equal countries are more prone to deploy larger proportions of female military personnel, regardless of when the deployment takes place.

Keywords: women's participation, UNSCR 1325, peacekeeping, United Nations, peace operations

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Peacekeeping

Year: 2020

Peacekeeping, Compliance with International Norms, and Transactional Sex in Monrovia, Liberia


Beber, Bernd, Michael J. Gilligan, Jenny Guardado, and Sabrina Karim. 2017. “Peacekeeping, Compliance with International Norms, and Transactional Sex in Monrovia, Liberia.” International Organization 71 (1): 1–30.

Authors: Bernd Beber, Michael J. Gilligan, Jenny Guardado, Sabrina Karim


United Nations policy forbids its peacekeepers and other personnel from engaging in transactional sex (the exchange of money, favors, or gifts for sex), but we find the behavior to be very common in our survey of Liberian women. Using satellite imagery and GPS locators, we randomly selected 1,381 households and randomly sampled 475 women between the ages of eighteen and thirty. Using an iPod in private to preserve the anonymity of their responses, these women answered sensitive questions about their sexual histories. More than half of them had engaged in transactional sex, a large majority of them (more than 75 percent) with UN personnel. We estimate that each additional battalion of UN peacekeepers caused a significant increase in a woman’s probability of engaging in her first transactional sex. Our findings raise the concern that the private actions of UN personnel in the field may set back the UN’s broader gender-equality and economic development goals, and raise broader questions about compliance with international norms.

Topics: Gender, Women, International Organizations, Peacekeeping, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2017

Explaining Variation in the Implementation of Global Norms: Gender Mainstreaming of Security in the OSCE and the EU


Jenichen, Anne, Jutta Joachim, and Andrea Schneiker. 2019. "Explaining Variation in the Implementation of Global Norms: Gender Mainstreaming of Security in the OSCE and the EU." International Political Science Review 40 (5): 613-26.

Authors: Anne Jenichen, Jutta Joachim, Andrea Schneiker


Why do regional security organizations choose different approaches to implementing global gender norms? To address this question, we examine how the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union (EU) integrated requirements derived from UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) on women, peace and security into their security policies. We identify differences in scope and dynamics between the change processes in the two organizations. The OSCE simply adapted its existing gender policy and has not changed it since, whereas the EU introduced a new, more extensive and specific policy, which it has already amended several times. Drawing on historical institutionalism and feminist institutionalism, we found that, first, reform coalitions prepared the ground for gender mainstreaming in the organizations’ respective security policies; and that, second, embedded policy structures, including rules and norms about external interaction as well as existing policy legacies, were responsible for the different approaches of the EU and OSCE with respect to UNSCR 1325.

Keywords: gender mainstreaming, European Union (EU), feminist historical institutionalism, Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE), UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325)

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, International Organizations, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Europe

Year: 2019

La violencia sexual en contra de las mujeres como estrategia de despojo de tierras en el conflicto armado colombiano


Céspedes-Báez, Lina-María. 2010. "La violencia sexual en contra de las mujeres como estrategia de despojo de tierras en el conflicto armado colombiano." Revista Estudios Socio-Juridico 12 (2): 273-304.

Author: Lina-María Céspedes-Báez


This article reviews the evidence collected by diverse national and international organizations regarding the relationship between sexual violence against women, forced displacement, and dispossession in the context of the Colombian armed conflict. To this end, it uses the concept of "sexual violence regimes" to highlight that the ends pursued by sexual violence are not always exhausted by simple consummation (that is, the act of sexual violence itself), but depending on the context, can be connected with broader strategic goals of armed actors. At the same time, this document admits the difficulty of proving this relationship with respect to judicial procedures, and thus sets out the possibility of creating a rebuttable presumption, in the framework of "unconstitutional state of affairs" created by judgment T-025 of 2004, that alleviates the burden of proof of the victims, and serves as a catalyst to promote new gender-based mechanisms of reparations.
El presente artículo parte de la evidencia que ha sido recogida por diversas organizaciones, tanto nacionales como internacionales, en materia de la interrelación entre la violencia sexual en contra de las mujeres, el desplazamiento forzado y el despojo en el conflicto armado colombiano. Para el efecto, utiliza el concepto de regímenes de violencia sexual, a fin de realzar el que los fines perseguidos por la conducta no se agotan siempre en el simple consumo, sino que, dependiendo del contexto, pueden estar conectados con objetivos más amplios dentro del repertorio estratégico de los actores armados. Asimismo, el documento admite la dificultad de la prueba de esta correlación en las instancias judiciales pertinentes, por lo cual plantea la posibilidad de crear una presunción desvirtuable, en el ámbito del estado de cosas inconstitucional declarado por la sentencia T-025 de 2004, que morigere la carga de la prueba de las víctimas y sirva como un catalizador para promover nuevos arreglos de género.

Keywords: desplazamiento forzado, Conflicto Armado, violencia sexual, tierras, pruebas, forced displacement, armed conflict, sexual violence, land, evidence

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Land Tenure, International Organizations, Sexual Violence, SV against Women Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2010

New Directions in Women, Peace and Security


Basu, Soumita, Paul Kirby, and Laura Shepherd, eds. 2020. New Directions in Women, Peace and Security. Bristol: Bristol University Press.

Authors: Soumita Basu, Paul Kirby, Laura Shepherd


What does gender equality mean for peace, justice, and security? At the turn of the 21st century, feminist advocates persuaded the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution that drew attention to this question at the highest levels of international policy deliberations.
Today the Women, Peace and Security agenda is a complex field, relevant to every conceivable dimension of war and peace. This groundbreaking book engages vexed and vexing questions about the future of the agenda, from the legacies of coloniality to the prospects of international law, and from the implications of the global arms trade to the impact of climate change. It balances analysis of emerging trends with specially commissioned reflections from those at the forefront of policy and practice. (Summary from Bristol University Press)
Table of Contents:
United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security
Foreword: Toward Strategic Instrumentalism
Anne Marie Goetz
1. Women, Peace and Security: A Critical Cartography
Soumita Basu, Paul Kirby and Laura J. Shepherd
Part I: Encounters
2. South Sudanese Women on the Move: An Account of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda
Rita M. Lopidia and Lucy Hall
3. The Price of Peace? Frictional Encounters on Gender, Security and the ‘Economic Peace Paradigm’
Nicole George
4. Difficult Encounters with the WPS Agenda in South Asia: Re- scripting Globalized Norms and Policy Frameworks for a Feminist Peace
Rita Manchanda
5. Best Practice Diplomacy and Feminist Killjoys in the Strategic State: Exploring the Affective Politics of Women, Peace and Security
Minna Lyytikäinen and Marjaana Jauhola
6. Between Protection and Participation: Affect, Countering Violent Extremism and the Possibility for Agency
Elizabeth Pearson
7. Lessons Lived in Gender and International Criminal Law
Patricia Viseur Sellers and Louise Chappell
8. Holding Feminist Space
Sam Cook and Louise Allen
Part II: Horizons
9. Global Racial Hierarchies and the Limits of Localization via National Action Plans
Toni Haastrup and Jamie J. Hagen
10. Towards a Postcolonial, Anti- Racist, Anti- Militarist Feminist Mode of Weapons Control
Anna Stavrianakis
11. The Privatization of War: A New Challenge for the Women, Peace and Security Agenda
Marta Bautista Forcada and Cristina Hernández Lázaro
12. Human Trafficking, Human Rights and Women, Peace and Security: The Sound of Silence
Gema Fernández Rodríguez de Liévana and Christine Chinkin
13. Addressing Future Fragility: Women, Climate Change and Migration
Briana Mawby and Anna Applebaum
14. Feminist Challenges to the Co-optation of WPS: A Conversation with Joy Onyesoh and Madeleine Rees
Joy Onyesoh, Madeleine Rees and Catia Cecilia Confortini

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Environment, Climate Change, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Law, International Organizations, Peace and Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, Weapons /Arms

Year: 2020

The Road to Johannesburg and Beyond: Networking for Gender and Energy


Karlsson, Gail, and Sheila Oparaocha. 2003. “The Road to Johannesburg and Beyond: Networking for Gender and Energy.” Energy for Sustainable Development 7 (3): 62–7. 

Authors: Gail Karlsson, Sheila Oparaocha


Although the Plan of Implementation adopted at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) contained important provisions regarding the role of energy in sustainable development, it did not adequately reflect the linkages between energy, poverty and traditional gender roles. This was especially noticeable in comparison to the decision on energy adopted at the Ninth Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-9). ENERGIA, an international network on gender and energy, worked in partnership with other organizations to undertake successful lobbying and advocacy activities to ensure that a gender and energy perspective was reflected in the CSD-9 decision. UNDP, in particular, has been an important partner in raising awareness about the importance of gender-sensitive energy policies. The text of the WSSD Plan of Implementation recognised the importance of gender equality in sustainable development, but did not include specific references to gender issues in the substantive paragraphs of the text. To some extent this reflects the fact that the need for gender sensitivity has become much more widely recognised and accepted. With regard to the provisions concerning access to energy, the negotiators at the WSSD were focused on much more controversial matters. Nevertheless, in order to ensure that gender and energy concerns are included in national and international planning and decision-making processes, ENERGIA and its partners need to develop greater capacity for advocacy and information-sharing. Some of the partnership initiatives launched at the WSSD will provide new opportunities for gender and energy advocates to participate in the design and implementation of sustainable energy activities. For example, the Global Village Energy partnership sponsored by UNDP and the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme has emphasised gender sensitivity in energy decision-making, and has included ENERGIA members on its Board of Directors.

Topics: Development, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Energy, International Organizations

Year: 2003


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