Review of Latest Research in Women, Peace & Security. First Quarter 2023, January - March

April 5, 2023


  1. Hlatky, Stéfanie von Deploying Feminism: The Role of Gender in NATO Military Operations, Oxford University Press

Hlatky’s monograph charts the development of women’s inclusion in NATO-member state militaries and changes to gender-based military practices within the organisation. Using field experience in Iraq, Kosovo and the Baltic countries alongside first-hand interviews, the book interrogates the integration of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in NATO governance, finding that the agenda’s wider norms are often warped within the NATO context as operational effectiveness is prioritised over women’s meaningful participation. 

  1. Jennifer Robinson & Keina Yoshida (2023) How Many More Women?: The silencing of women by the law and how to stop it. Endeavour.

In this new analysis for the #metoo age, Robinson and Yoshida, two London-based human rights barristers, strike at the heart of some of the biggest legal problems facing British women today. Like Helena Kennedy’s original 1993 feminist take on the failing of the law (Eve was Framed: Women and British Justice) Robinson and Yoshida’s work is unflinching in its critique. This is a must read text for everyone campaigning against domestic violence, gender-based hate crime and sexism in all its forms.

  1. Giusi Russo 2023 Women, Empires, and Body Politics at the United Nations, 1946–1975  ·

Taking the Commission on the Status of Women as an extended historical case study, this book “tells the story of how the female body was at the centre of the international politics of promotion and obstruction of women's rights in the postwar period and how traditional European empires’ locales were instrumental in the formation of UN gender politics” (p. 2-3). Giusi Russo points to the key role of the nation state in commodifying and controlling women’s bodies and how the oppressive forces of empire further entrenched these gendered and racialised forms of discrimination. This detailed new monograph charts the development of the Commission from its earliest days and tracks the shifts in its focus from law-based rights to more practical applications of equality. 

  1. Rebecca Adami, Dan Plesch (2023) Women and the UN: A New History of Women's International Human Rights. Routledge

In this edited volume for Routledge, “Women and the UN”, Adami and Plesch provide a long overdue repository of key figures and influential female voices which have shaped the United Nations as we know it today. Key contributions include revelations of how Latin American women activists were influential in the drafting of the UN Charter, as well as various analyses of key women’s roles in Human Rights. The editors conclude with an important discussion of how collectively forgetting of these key female negotiators, drafters and activists has seriously biased contemporary understandings of International Relations theory.

  1. Caitlin Hamilton, Anuradha Mundkur, Laura J. Shepherd (2023) Civil Society, Care Labour, and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda Making 1325 Work. Routledge

This work draws together feminist theories of care work and emotional labour with activism on UNSCR1325 to interpret civil society advocacy around the WPS Agenda as a form of care labour. Through interviews with a range of organisations, the research shines a light on vital individual and collective contributions by ordinary women, as well as the challenges, frustrations and barriers they face. Ultimately this text is a celebration of the importance of civil society interventions and an encouragement to continue striving for reform however slow the pace of institutional change may be.

  1. Shalva Weil (ed.) (2023) Femicide in War and Peace. Routledge

This collected volume explores various facets of the ideologically-motivated killing of women, known as femicide. Key contributions include a statistical analysis of femicide in conflict settings, a critical look at the role of religious organisations in gender-motivated murders and honour killing, and an exploration of the devastating impact of the Covid19 pandemic on patterns of femicide internationally.


  1. Peter Knoope and Seran de Leede  (editors) Negotiating Gender in Central Asia: The Effect of Gender Structures and Dynamics on Violent Extremism, Washington, D.C.: The George Washington University, Central Asia Program

This report from the Central Asia Programme brings together the work of 8 authors analysing the situation of gender equality in various Central Asian states. In addition to some general comparative pieces, Elena Kim explores links between nationalist extremism and patriarchy in Kyrgyzstan, while Noah Tucker reveals the complexities of gender in contexts of military mobilization through conversations with Uzbek women involved with the Syrian conflict.

  1. Nouzha Chekrouni Nihal El Mquirmi (2023) Morocco and the WPS Agenda 2023. Policy Center for the New South [policy brief]

One year on from the publication of Morocco's most recent National Action Plan, this report from the Policy Center for the New South comments on both the Moroccan experience and the wider context of the WPS agenda. Citing the key influence of the African Union on the development of the agenda, the authors of this paper seeks to draw attention to the significant contributions of countries in the Global South and their "understudied role in driving forward and shaping this agenda". Within the Moroccan context, the report highlights women's continued exclusion from decision-making spaces and a lack of commitment from institutions to enact real change. The authors therefore calls on those in power to place greater emphasis on the pillar of participation rather than simply protection, and take further steps to ensure women's economic empowerment in the country.


  1. Natalia Kalmykova, Chester Spell, and Katerina Bezrukova (2023) 'Equality and Leading Teams in the Military', in Psychology Today
    In this clear and well-argued article for Psychology Today, the authors draw attention to prevailing biases in our collective consciousness which continue to unfairly hinder women’s progression in military spheres. The article debunks stereotypes that women cannot fight and are unsuited to leadership
  2. Danielle Watson, Loene Howes, Sinclair Dinnen, Melissa Bull & Sara N. Amin (2023) 'Women and the Institution of Policing in the Pacific' In Policing in the Pacific Islands. Palgrave's Critical Policing Studies. Palgrave Macmillan
    This open access chapter from the collection titled “Policing in the Pacific Islands” explores how gender dynamics in the region have affected the participation of women in domestic security institutions. The authors question the extent to which regional instability has hindered the inclusion of women in the police and examine the effects of gender-based violence on officers and the public. Strategies used by Pacific Island police forces to increase women’s representation in their ranks include balanced recruitment practices, mainstreaming goals and Women’s Advisory Networks. The authors conclude with a warning that short-term strategies which aim to work pragmatically within traditional gender norms must not be allowed to ultimately disempower female police officers in the longer term.
  3. Margherita Guidetti, Anna Rita Graziani, Giulia Scaglioni, Silvia Cucchi & Nicoletta Cavazza (2023) “When a Politician Disappoints: The Role of Gender Stereotypical Expectations in Post-Scandal Judgment”, in Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, 44:2, pp. 245-25
    Although focussing on women in politics, the findings of this innovative study may also have significant implications for women in leadership of the security sector. In this study of voter attitudes towards male and female politicians implicated in scandals, the researchers found female politicians from the voter’s preferred political party were typically judged most harshly and thus suffered most severe reputational damage in the wake of the scandal. The authors posit that this was due to the disproportionately high expectations of honesty placed upon female representatives compared to male ones. This conclusion could fruitfully be tested in rank and file attitudes towards leaders in security institutions to assess how expectation and judgement may or may not differ between men and women
  4. Turner, Catherine and Swaine, Aisling (2023) 'Aligning Participation and Protection in the Women Peace and Security Agenda', International & Comparative Law Quarterly
    Turner and Swaine bring together their considerable research work in Northern Ireland to comprehensively examine the protection and participation pillars of the WPS Agenda. Critiquing the fact that these two facets of peace and security have overwhelmingly been treated separately in WPS resolutions and action plans, the authors point to potential sites of intersection and argue that true and lasting protection cannot be ensured without proper integration of women’s participation throughout security processes. Through this close textual analysis, Turner and Swaine draw out how attempts at  “balancing empowerment with victimhood” within WPS policies have often led to ineffective strategies which fail to tackle sources of insecurity. They conclude with a call to tackle barriers to participation which ultimately contribute to insecurity and advocate for future policy to think more meaningfully about interaction between the pillars of the agenda.

  1. Rashid Maria (2023) 'Precarious attachments: soldiers and erasures of the feminine in the Pakistan military', in  International Feminist Journal of Politics
    Rashid’s article for the IFJoP presents the results of her in-depth ethnographic fieldwork with military families in Pakistan and provides further evidence of how national militaries rely on the invisible labour of female kin. Focussing particularly on emotional labour performed by female family members of male soldiers, she shows how these personal relationships are integral to the tension between soldier and civilian identities and the maintenance of military institutions.
  2. Jody M. Prescott, (2023) 'Factoring Gender into Kinetic Operations', in Parameters 53:1
    In Prescott’s latest article examining gender in US military operations and strategy, he turns his attention to use of lethal force. In part because the WPS agenda is focussed primarily on peace and security in a development capacity, it is typically poorly applied to military structures (see Hlatky’s 2023 work Deploying Feminism for this problem in the context of NATO - in New Books, above).  Prescott therefore sees the US Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan (CHMR) as a more practical tool for thinking about gender considerations in lethal strikes and active warfare. With significant new funding apportioned to mitigating civilian harm and the CHMR action plan in 2023, Prescott sees this as a pertinent vehicle for deeper thinking about gender in US military doctrine.
  3. Brenda Oppermann (2023) 'Enhancing US Global Competitiveness through Women, Peace, and Security' in Parameters 53, no. 1

  1. Setting out the current strategic piorities of US military policy with regard to cooperation and competition in the international arena, Oppermann makes a strong case for the deeper integration of WPS agenda and gender-aware resourcing more generally. She asserts that the "Women, Peace, and Security improves military operational effectiveness", arguing that the inclusion of female civilian perspectives in tactical thinking ensures that military planning adopts a more holistic - and thus more efficient - outlook. Other benefits that Oppermann highlights include: the value of including female soldiers in scouting parties and raids, since only they were permitted to engage with local women and enter domestic spaces; broadening understanding within counter-terrorism operations that it is not only male extremists who may pose a threat; viewing the WPS Agenda as a "relationship-rich asset" with a global network of institutions operating at multiple levels. Oppermann illustrates her argument with a range of case studies, most notably citing detailed examples from all-female Kurdish protection units in Syria.
  1. Crystal Whetstone & Luna K. C. (2023) 'Disrupting the Saviour Politics in the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in the Global South: Grassroots Women Creating Gender Norms in Nepal and Sri Lanka', in Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs pp. 1–27.
    This article critiquing the prevailing trends in the WPS Agenda focuses on overturning Global North assumptions and challenging 'saviour' narratives. It is now increasingly acknowledged that women activists, politicians and other stakeholders from nations of the Global South had a much greater and more pivotal role in the foundation of the agenda than has been previously discussed. Through interviews and collaborative methods with women in Nepal and Sri Lanka, the authors demonstrate how the norms of UN gender policy are not simply applied from the top down, as might be assumed, but are constantly being shaped by those at the grassroots.


  1. Security Women ran a well-attended side event at the UN Commission on the Status of Women 2023 focusing on gender considerations of cyber security. Recorded video for those who were unable to attend is available here.

  2. Security Women was pleased to be invited to participate in the Peace and Security stream of civil society consultations for the development of the UN Director General’s New Agenda for Peace in February 2023 (Report here).

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