Women and War

Power and Protection in the 21st Century
Published: 
April 1, 2011
By: 
Kathleen Kuehnast, Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, and Helga Hernes, editors

In consideration of U.N. Resolution 1325 (which called for women’s equal participation in promoting peace and security and for greater efforts to protect women exposed to violence during and after conflict), this volume takes stock of the current state of knowledge on women, peace and security issues, including efforts to increase women’s participation in post-conflict reconstruction strategies and their protection from wartime sexual violence.

"Women and War should be on the desk of every mediator, peacekeeper, and policymaker working in the international peace and conflict arena. The book uses empirical evidence to cut its way through stereotypes of women as victims of war, taking us on a vivid journey of women's actual experiences, ranging from the 'rape camps' of Kosovo to the surprising effects of a gender neutral peace in Angola. The authors shed light on the triumphs and failures of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and provide a road map for the full participation of women at all stages of peacebuilding. The book is sure to make readers question deep-seated assumptions about the roles of women, and will change how we all think about war, peace and justice."  -Melanie Greenberg, Cypress Fund for Peace and Security, and co-president, Women in International Security

 

For most of the 20th century, the study and practice of war and international relations focused on the security of states. The changing nature of conflict has led analysts toward an expanded concept of human security that focuses not only on the state but also the security concerns of the individual, including women.

Ten years ago, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325, which called for women’s equal participation in promoting peace and security and for greater efforts to protect women, who are more exposed to violence during and after conflict than men. The volume takes stock of the current state of knowledge on women, peace and security issues, including efforts to increase women’s participation in post-conflict reconstruction strategies and their protection from wartime sexual violence. The authors also highlight the resolution’s potential to advance the rights of women in a wide variety of spheres by including analysis of legal, economic, and policy implications.

Gender-based analysis of conflict often remains outside the mainstream of security dialogues. This volume underscores that much remains to be done at both a conceptual and operational level to develop effective conflict prevention and management strategies that are inclusive of women. The authors take a forward-looking approach, emphasizing that setting a well-grounded research agenda is the first step toward realizing the resolution’s dual goals of power and protection.

Kathleen Kuehnast serves as gender adviser and lead for the Gender and Peacebuilding Center of Innovation at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP).

Chantal de Jonge Oudraat is associate vice president of USIP’s Jennings Randolph Fellowship Program.

Helga Hernes is a senior adviser on women, peace, and security issues at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and serves as a chair of the Norwegian Parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Committee.

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April 1, 2011