Review of Latest Research in Women, Peace & Security. Third Quarter 2022, July-September

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October 11, 2022


1. Heathcote, Gina, Bertotti, Sara, Jones, Emily, and Labenski, Sheri A. (2022) The Law of War and Peace, A Gender Analysis: Volume One.

This volume, recently released in paperback, is the first in a two-part series offering new and insightful gendered perspectives on war and international law. While acknowledging the importance of the UN WPS Agenda, the authors seek to extend the analysis beyond this body of scholarship and international practice to interrogate how intersectional perspectives are implicated in wider discussions and applications of international humanitarian and criminal law.

2. Reiter, Hannah (2022) Women in Policing: Between Assimilation and Opposition. Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden.

In this comparative study of policing in England, Wales and Austria, Reiter highlights the motivating factors for women joining policing (doing something meaningful, career advancement opportunities) and examines the challenges facing female recruits (sexism, the police as a ‘boy’s club’, public respect, balancing care work, intersectional difficulties). Reiter calls for a complete overhaul of policing structures, arguing that existing strategies to enhance gender equality in both counties do little to address the sources of the problems.

3. Smith, Sarah & Yoshida, Keina (ed.s) (2022) Feminist Conversations on Peace. Bristol University Press.

A collection of detailed transcripts offering insight into the conversations that have taken place between prominent feminist peace and security scholars throughout the pandemic years. Particularly notable chapters for those interested in the security sector include ‘International Law as a Vehicle for Peace’, and ‘No Peace without Security: Shoring the Gains of the #MeToo Movement’.

4. Carver, Terrell & Lyddon, Laura (2022) Masculinities, Gender and International Relations, Bristol University Press.

The brand new publication inspects gendered power imbalances in international politics and how patterns of masculinisation underlie global hierarchies and conflicting relationships


1. Kirby, Paul, Wright, Hannah and Dr Swaine, Aisling (2022) The Future of the UK’s Women, Peace and Security Policy. Briefing Paper
The authors set out a brief history of WPS policy in the UK, highlighting the leading role of the UK in the creation and advancement of the agenda. Detailed analysis of prevailing trends in UK National Action Plans reveal a much higher focus on sexual violence and the role of men and boys in the UK NAP compared to other national plans. Political interest is shown to play a major role in the direction of the NAP: the influence of the government’s PSVI (Preventing Secual Violence Initiative) was clear in the text of the country’s third NAP, with much of this language falling away by the time of the fourth plan. The authors also highlight the ongoing failure of UK NAPs to uphold WPS policies with regard to refugees and they call for concerns over paramilitarism in Northern Ireland to be better addressed in the upcoming NAP. The report concludes with 3 Key Recommendations: 1. Monitoring; 2. Domestication; 3. Policy Ambition.

Title page of the Rapid Gender Analysis of Ukraine report featuring a mother and daughter standing with a crowd of refugees on tarmac with their luggage.

2. Care International & UNWomen (2022) Rapid Gender Analysis of Ukraine.
This rapidly compiled report in the wake of the Russian invasion provides a detailed assessment of gender relations in contemporary Ukraine, including gendered division of care work, food security, sexual and gender-based violence, mental healthcare provision and participation in politics and defence volunteering. Based on the analysis and interviews with over 150 Ukrainians, the report concludes with a number of recommendations to donors and aid organisations.


1. Morais, Diana, Turner, Samantha & Wright, Katharine A. M. (2022) ‘The Future of Women, Peace, and Security at NATO’, in Transatlantic Policy

The authors provide a succinct overview of NATO’s efforts to integrate WPS measurements into its military doctrine and operating procedure since 2007. Notable implementations of the agenda include gender advisors in Afghanistan and the establishment of a Special Representative (currently Irene Fellin), although failures to prioritise the gender-specific impacts of the war in Ukraine are a clear gap in the organisation’s current policy. In addition to improved structures for accountability to civil society, the authors argue for the integration of WPS as a core leadership requirement within NATO, ensuring that it is no longer a peripheral women’s issue or specialism, but a key area of centrally-required knowledge.

2. Special Issue of the Manohar Parrikar Journal of Defence Studies (2022) United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Lessons, Trends and Future Prospects — Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses Journal of Defence Studies, Vol. 16, No. 3

This special issue includes 4 articles focussed specifically on the contribution of women peacekeepers from South Asia. Yeshi Choedon’s ‘Uniformed Women in UN Peacekeeping: An Assessment of India’s Contribution’ presents a study of Indian peacekeepers and sets out a wealth of arguments for the inclusion of female soldiers in peacekeeping operations, particularly highlighting in detail the seminal contribution of Indian women peacekeepers in Liberia (2007) and the DRC (2019). Anand Kumar’s ‘Bangladeshi Women in UN Peacekeeping: A Case Study’ argues for the ways in which including female peacekeepers enhanced a number of Bangladeshi mission deployments and Pintu Kumar Mahla’s ‘Understanding the Perspective of Women in UN Peacekeeping Missions’ criticises the underreporting of female experiences in UN missions. Ingudam Yaipharemba Singh’s ‘Indian Women in Blue Helmets: Professionalism in Peacekeeping’ assesses how more equal gender representation among security forces can improve communication with the local population in mission areas.

3. Carrington, K., Rodgers, J., Sozzo, M., & Puyol, M. V. (2022) ‘Re-theorizing the progress of women in policing: An alternative perspective from the Global South’, in Theoretical Criminology.

Challenging perspectives on gender equality rooted in the traditions of the Global North, this paper reassesses the value of women-only police stations and security infrastructure to address gender-based violence in the Global South. The positive impact of such gender-segregated security spaces is explored through the case study of Bueons Aires, Argentina.

4. Martsenyuk, Tamara (2022) ‘Women’s Participation in Defending Ukraine in Russia’s War’, in Global Cooperation Research - A Quarterly Magazine, July Edition

Martsenyuk analyses the recent history of female involvement in Ukrainian protest movements and defensive military campaigns to offer unique insight into the foundations of Ukraine’s fierce and society-wide resistance to Russian aggression in 2022. In this detailed discussion of the many and varied aspects of women’s experiences of the conflict, she touches on sexual and sexualised violence against both female civilians and service personnel at the hands of Russian soldiers but also highlights the crucial role of women active in the Ukrainian military, as documented by the Invisible Battalion  research campaign.

Tamara Martsenyuk is an Associate Professor at University of Kyiv-Mohyla who was evacuated to Germany earlier this year and is currently being hosted at Freie Universitat Berlin.

5. Ta-Johnsona, Vivian P., Keels, Eric & Bayram, A. Burcu (2022) ‘How Women Promote Peace: Gender Composition, Duration, and Frames’, in Conflict Resolution

The authors present the results of negotiation experiments involving international participants in which disputes were shown to be settled more efficiently and equitably when both sides were represented by women. Importantly, the need for female negotiators on both sides was shown to be critical since “women are willing to give up on asymmetric advantage only when they negotiate with other women”.  

6. Lounsbery, Marie Olson, Gerring, Nicole & Rose, Kaitlyn (2022) ‘Civil War Peace Agreements and Gender Inclusion’, in Defence and Peace Economics

Through this statistical study of WPS applications in civil war contexts since 1990, the authors aim to establish a typology of peace agreements, testing whether the circumstances of conflicts affect whether agreement outcomes prioritise empowering women or addressing victimisation. The findings show that societies with higher proportions of women in political structures are more likely to produce peace agreements which include gender provisions and that these provisions are typically more focussed on empowering women than agreements in societies with lower political representation. Where there is higher representation of women among civil society organisations, peace agreements typically reflect greater emphasis on responding to victimisation and one-sided violence against civilian women. The inclusion of UN representatives in mediation teams also proved to be significant in tandem with female political representation for the inclusion of empowering gender provisions, while agreements formed without UN involvement typically did not result in support for female empowerment.

7. Prescott, Jody M. (2022) ‘Why militaries need a theory of gender’s operational relevance’, in Humanitarian Law and Policy (International Committee of the Red Cross)

Prescott’s article for the ICRC Blog attributes the lack of female representation in security services to a failure of military thinkers to establish a coherent and robust gender theory. Based largely on Muvumba Sellström’s 2019 research paper on stigmatisation of sexual violence in Burundi, Prescott argues that the gender dimensions of operational risk can take unexpected forms and as such ought to be a central concern of commanders and strategy analysts in every region. Gender ultimately must be ‘normed in’ to general strategy and risk assessment, he says, rather than tacked on as an afterthought.

8. Rashid, Maria (2022) Precarious attachments: soldiers and erasures of the feminine in the Pakistan military, International Feminist Journal of Politics

Rashid's detailed analysis of the Pakistani armed forces places the focus on military families and the emotional labour performed by military wives and mothers which sustains the security forces in overlooked ways. Disenchantment and disassociation with the domestic and 'feminised' elements of civilian life are ultimately shown to be deliberate products of the military's training regime rather than a side-effect of soldiering, as is often assumed.

9. Dolan, Emma & Danilova, Nataliya (2022) ‘“To those who choose to follow in our footsteps”: making women/LGBT+ soldiers (in)visible through feminist “her-story” theater’, in International Feminist Journal of Politics

In an extended analysis of two plays at the Edinburgh Festival (2021), the authors assess the translation of minoritised (and intersectional) military experience into theatrical performance. They argue that such performances are not simply subversions of military cultures but spaces which create new and troubling ambiguities when real but invisible actors are rendered visible but fictionalised on the stage.

10. Kamfwa, Benson Muchinshi  (2022) ‘An Evaluation of Roles and Integration of Female Soldiers in Peace Building in Central African Republic: A Case of Zambian Regiment Lusaka, Zambia’, in International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol.3, Issue No.1, pp 12 – 41.

This study provides an important and previously undocumented insight into the realities of serving in the Zambian peacebuilding forces as a female soldier. Interviews and discourse analysis used in the project reveal that women in the Zambian army engage in a wide variety of security and protection activities as well as human rights advocacy, but continue to face sexist attitudes, sexual harassment and unprovoked defamation of character.

11. Sukhtankar, Sandip, Kruks-Wisner, Gabrielle & Mangla, Akshay (2022) ‘Policing in patriarchy: An experimental evaluation of reforms to improve police responsiveness to women in India’, in SCIENCE, Vol. 377, Issue 6602, pp. 191-198

The findings of this study suggest that crimes of gender-based violence are more likely to be reported to officers in police stations with dedicated Women's Help Desks, especially where these are run by female officers. This is a significant finding which highlights the need to recruit more female officers throughout India and provide them with the necessary training to handle such sensitive and traumatic cases.

12. Berlingozzi, Laura (2022) ‘O sister, where art thou? Assessing the limits of gender mainstreaming in preventing and countering violent extremism in Mali’, in Critical Studies on Terrorism

Berlingozzi provides a comprehensive picture of the Malian security sector and its interactions with the EU intervention mission. The Malian police force has the highest proportion of female recruits (12%) of any of the security forces, but recruitment remains difficult given the constraints on enrollment such as the prohibition of married women and mothers from joining the force. Ongoing abuses committed by the Malian Army (in collaboration with Russian groups) further complicate this picture, as do prevailing social norms about the supposed fragility of all women and the stigmatisation of women in leadership. Most damningly, Berlingozzi identifies a pronounced urban-rural divide in levels of education and economic empowerment which is ignored by development and security processes, thereby precluding true representation of Malian women in all their diversity.

13. Asante, Doris(2022) 'Civil society and counter-terrorism governance: implementing the WPS agenda in Nigeria', in Global Society

Asante’s study interrogates the tokenistic role often ascribed to women’s civil society organisations during national implementations of the UN WPS Agenda. Focussing on Nigeria, she shows how women-led groups have successfully implemented initiatives to challenge violent extremism, yet their relationship with a government that views them as service providers rather than embedded stakeholders remains uneasy. Many of the difficulties stem from a lack of political will to engage meaningfully with civilian groups who already perform relevant peacebuilding activities but who are unaware of the WPS Agenda itself.

Alice MacLeod is a PhD student researching intersections between language, gender and security.

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