Dr. Kathleen Kuehnast is the director of Gender Policy and Strategy at the U.S. Institute of Peace. She also leads the Institute’s Grants and Fellowships program. 

As a sociocultural anthropologist, Kuehnast brings scholarship and field experience to focus on the different gendered impacts of violence and conflict on men, women, and gender and sexual minorities. In this capacity, Dr. Kuehnast co-edited the volume, “Women and War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century” (2011). She has been a part of the international vanguard of introducing the concept of “peaceful masculinities,” which is focused on inclusive gender analysis. The concept is outlined in her co-authored publication, “Gender Inclusive Framework and Theory: A Guide for Turning Theory into Practice," which has been translated into seven languages. 

Prior to USIP, Dr. Kuehnast in the international development field for 15 years, primarily with the World Bank, where she conducted research and project management on the thematic streams of women and poverty, social capital, and community-driven development in fragile and post-conflict societies. Her regional expertise is Central Asia; she lived in Kyrgyzstan for several years while completing her doctoral dissertation research, which resulted in a number of publications on the impact of post-Soviet transition on Muslim women.

Dr. Kuehnast is the 2015 recipient of the Perdita Huston Human Rights Award from the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. She is a recipient of the postdoctorate Mellon Foreign Fellowship at the Library of Congress, and also a former postdoctorate Kennan Institute Fellow at the Wilson Center. She received her doctorate in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Minnesota. She is also a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Publications By Kathleen

Protecting the Participation of Women Peacebuilders

Protecting the Participation of Women Peacebuilders

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

By: Negar Ashtari Abay, Ph.D.;  Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.

Worsening violence against women is often a precursor to — and early outcome of — the rise in coups and authoritarianism that have made recent headlines. Not only does protecting women’s participation in public life and decision-making go hand-in-hand with democracy, but the former is actually a precondition for the latter. As we mark International Women’s Day in 2022, we would do well to remember that global efforts to prevent violent conflict and sustain peace are significantly undermined when women are deterred from access to participation and full leadership without fear of reprisals and violence. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderPeace Processes

Myanmar’s Ongoing War Against Women

Myanmar’s Ongoing War Against Women

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

By: Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.;  Gabriela Sagun

When the United Nations began its annual campaign to end violence against women 30 years ago, no one had Myanmar on their radar. But in recent years, Myanmar’s military has escalated its use of sexual and gender-based violence to terrorize women and girls — most infamously against ethnic minorities, notably the Rohingya. Confronted by these atrocities, the international community has issued widespread demands for accountability and justice that have yet to come to fruition.  

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderHuman Rights

Why Gender and Sexual Minority Inclusion in Peacebuilding Matters

Why Gender and Sexual Minority Inclusion in Peacebuilding Matters

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

By: Julia Schiwal;  Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.

A society cannot be considered peaceful when certain groups within it experience targeted and ongoing forms of violence and discrimination. Despite this recognized importance of inclusivity, gender and sexual minorities (GSM) remain largely invisible in peacebuilding. Even in the international Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, which has become a significant entry point for addressing gender dynamics in peacebuilding, GSM rights, protection and participation are also inadequately addressed. The absence of established norms for and approaches to GSM inclusion means that it is incumbent on peacebuilders to think more intentionally about why and how GSM can be included.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderPeace Processes

Gender Inclusive Framework and Theory (Hausa)

Gender Inclusive Framework and Theory (Hausa)

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

By: Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.;  Danielle Robertson

Daftarin da ke bada kulawa ga jinsi kundi ne da akayi nazari a tsanake wajen samar da shi da zai saukaka yadda za’a rika bada kulawa tare da amfani da al’amuran da suka shafi jinsi yayin tsara wani shiri ko aiki. Saboda aikin samar da zaman lafiya ya dogara da nazartan al’amarin da yake dubawa, daftarin da ke bada kulawa ga jinsi ya gabatar da hanyoyi uku na nazartan al’amuran da suka shafi jinsi-mata, zaman lafiya da tsaro; halaye da dabi’un maza na kwarai; da asali ko alamomi da suka hadu da juna-an samar da su da nufin fuskantar al’amuarn jinsi dan kyautata tsara shirye-shiryen jaddada zaman lafiya.

Type: Tools for Peacebuilding

Gender

Gender Inclusive Framework and Theory (Dari)

Gender Inclusive Framework and Theory (Dari)

Friday, May 21, 2021

By: Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.;  Danielle Robertson

(Dari) The Gender Inclusive Framework and Theory (GIFT) guide is an approachable and thorough tool that facilitates the integration of gender analysis into project design. Because peacebuilding work is context dependent, the GIFT puts forth three approaches to gender analysis – the Women, Peace and Security Approach; the Peaceful Masculinities Approach; and the Intersecting Identities Approach – that each illuminate the gender dynamics in a given environment to better shape peacebuilding projects.

Type: Tools for Peacebuilding

Gender

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