Expanding Gendered Understandings Key to Protection Concerns

November 22, 2019

November 22, 2019: This recent report from the International Peace Institute addresses the need to re-examine assumptions about gender when seeking to understand the difficulties in implementing UN Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Despite nearly two decades of resolutions, policies, and rhetoric related to the WPS agenda, women’s participation in UN peacekeeping has only modestly increased and many components of the agenda remain woefully under-addressed.

Resolution 1325 includes a protection pillar, which highlights the unique protection needs of women and girls in armed conflict. This pillar is closely related to the UN’s protection of civilians (POC) agenda, though the POC and WPS agendas are seldom applied together in practice. Increasing women’s participation is often cited as critical for increased protection of civilians, but falls short when it comes to enacting gender-sensitive POC strategies for a number of reasons. One is reductive characterizations of women as vulnerable and men as perpetrators. Even as UN protection strategies have increasingly included gendered considerations, they still tend to rely on these binary perceptions, as well as on essentializing assumptions that women peacekeepers are inherently best placed to protect women civilians. These assumptions risk weakening POC efforts, as they perpetuate a narrow understanding of who is and who is not in need of protection.

Read more: Expanding Gendered Understandings Key to Protection Concerns (reliefweb.int)

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