Review of Latest Research in Women, Peace & Security. Third Quarter 2023, June-October

November 1, 2023


  1. Kristina Lunz (2023) The Future of Foreign Policy Is Feminist, [Translation by Nicola Barfoot]
    As of 22nd September, Kristina Lunz’s best-selling German language manifesto for Feminist Foreign Policy has become available in English translation. Lunz, co-founder of the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy in Berlin, uses her growing platform to set out in print the many and varied benefits of foreign policy development which champions a holistic view of society and centres women’s needs from the outset. Through pertinent case studies and well-researched examples, Lunz makes perhaps the strongest case for Feminist Foreign Policy available to date. 

  1. Tim Prenzler (2023) Gender Inclusive Policing: Challenges and Achievements
    This collection of expert essays provides a fantastic overview of the current state of policing around the world. Covering contexts of both war and peace, the volume offers interesting discussions of contemporary debates in the field, including controversies over so-called ‘affirmative action’, barriers to progression and intersections with racialised discrimination.

  1. Cynthia Enloe (2023) Twelve Feminist Lessons of War
    Enloe’s highly accessible and thought-provoking book begins by promising readers ‘lessons in making reliable, useful - that is, feminist - sense of wars’. Enloe soon delivers on this promise through expertly interweaving personal interactions with remarkable women around the world and broader case studies to reveal how gender shapes conflict and conflict shapes the women living in its shadow.

  1. (2023) The Emerald International Handbook of Feminist Perspectives on Women’s Acts of Violence 
    The huge scope and sheer size of this edited volume highlights the lack of previous publication on the topic of violence among and by women. United only by the gender of their protagonists, the chapters range from historical perspectives on female violence to experiences in women’s prisons and portrayals of women’s violence in contemporary pop culture. Interesting chapters on women in the security sector include Michael Branch on female police, Tammy Kovich on women’s political violence, Alexis Henshaw on women’s violence during armed conflicts, and two chapters by Keshab Giri and Ashleigh McFeeters on the realities of post-conflict life for female ex-combatants.

  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. Ginette Azcona et al. for UN Women (2023) Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: Gender Snapshot

    The 2023 update on gender analysis of the UN Sustainable Development goals concludes that none of the key indicators for Goal 5 - Gender Equality - can yet be considered "met" or even “almost met”. Of the 18 indicators, only 2 are “close to target”, 8 are at a “moderate distance” and 4 are “far or very far from target”. The remaining 4 indicators remain impossible to assess due to a lack of global data. The report argues that it is “lackluster commitment to gender equality” and “consistent failure to prioritize SDG 5” which is the main factor to blame for holding back Goal 5. Over half of the world’s countries do not have laws in place “in any of the four areas under SDG indicator 5.1.1

  2. Georgetown Institute (2023) Women, Peace and Security Index
    The 2023 edition of the Georgetown Institute’s annual statistical analysis of global developments on WPS once again highlights the wide and, in some cases, growing, disparities between nations when it comes to women’s rights and security. As previously, the Nordic countries top the ranking for overall committment to WPS, with Denmark (93.2%=1), Sweden (92.6%=3), Finland (92.4%=4), Iceland (92.4%=4) and Norway (92%=7) appearing in the top 10, alongside New Zealand (90.4%=10) as the highest-ranking non-European country. At the other end of the scale, the devastating roll-back on women’s rights in Afghanistan is reflected in its new position at the bottom of the ranking (28.6%=177). The greatest localised disparity between nations is to be found in the MENA region, where 58.1 percentage points differentiate Yemen (ranked 176th) and the United Arab Emirates (ranked 22nd). After the deadliest year for battle-related deaths since 1994, 15% of the world’s women now live within 50km of an armed conflict - a terrifying statistic given that the link between proximity to conflict and the erosion of women’s rights and security continues to be supported by the data.
  3. NATO (2023) Women, Peace and Security
    In this recent update to the website of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, a dedicated set of pages set out NATO’s institutional Women, Peace and Security agenda, and its related institutional Action Plan on WPS (2021-2025). In this overview, the organisation highlights how it seeks to integrate gender perspectives into its core functions of defence, crisis prevention and cooperative security. Related reports linked to NATO’s WPS policies include a ‘Deep Dive’ on Gender factors affecting security in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region


  1. Marie-Joelle Zahar & Laurence Deschamps-Laporte (2023) ‘Is the Future of Peacekeeping Female? Middle Powers, Liberal Internationalism and the 1325 Agenda’, in Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 
    This insightful analysis calls on supporters of WPS to remain vigilant to the many and varied threats to the existence and progress of the agenda. The authors contend that the wider backlash against the prevailing liberal international order has manifested as a newly hostile environment for gender equal security provision in particular, as gender essentialist arguments are increasingly promoted by so-called “anti-gender”  actors such as Russia and China within their positions on the Security Council. More contentiously, the article argues that the focus on functionalist arguments for women’s involvement in peacekeeping in recent years has ‘watered down’ the impact of a policy agenda born of grass roots campaigning by transnational feminist activists. Yet in their focus on the realm of international policy, the authors forget that it is not the politicians and diplomats for whom this line of argument has been formulated, but the force commanders and military recruiters who ultimately have the power to affect institutional change. Among these leaders, who still operate in the intensely traditional, masculinised world of the defence sector, arguments based on “the right thing to do”, as the authors put it, will always lose out to reasoning which centres the benefits for mission effectiveness and defensive priorities that female troops bring.
  2. Catherine Turner and Aisling Swaine (2023) Full, Equal, Meaningful, and Safe: Creating Enabling Environments for Women’s Participation in Libya. July 25. 
    This report from the International Peace Institute offers a detailed analysis of the women, peace and security agenda in Libya and how women’s participation in efforts to improve security expose them to risks in diverse ways.
  3. Christine Agius (2023)‘Weak, immoral, naïve: Gendered representations of neutrality and the emotional politics of peace and security’, in Cooperation & Conflict vol. 0 issue 0
    Agius argues that the idea of neutrality in war has always been a deeply gendered concept which both relies upon and reinforces binary conceptualisations and social stereotypes of gendered traits. Interestingly, Agius concludes that the decline in neutrality as a national security strategy has occurred over the last 50 years as the idea of neutrality gathered emotionally-charged, explicitly gendered connotations as a “weak, immoral and naive” approach in the age of bi- and uni-polarity. The accession of nordic states to NATO in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has marked the latest step in this global move away from the possibility of state neutrality.
  4. Katherine A.M. Wright, Toni Haastrup, Roberta Guerinna (2023) Domestication+: The Fifth U.K. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security
    This critical review the UK's latest WPS National Action Plan highlights the latest iteration's shift in focus to include domestic elements of women's security. This development beyond foreign policy and development work could herald a new era for the internal implementation of UNSCR1325 by developed countries in the Global North. More critically, the authors point out that the Action Plan still lacks in LGBTQ+ inclusive language, something which perhaps reflects caution from the UK Foreign Office policy writers in the current political climate of the so-called 'culture wars'. In terms of women in the security sector, the authors note that this NAP is significant in its support for improving servicewomen's experiencesin the British armed forces, but they also call for the UK to go further in its support for gender integration within NATO.

  5. Eric Rudberg (2023) The Importance of Meaningful Participation of Female Peacekeepers, WIIS Perspectives [Blog]
    Rudberg's piece for Women in International Security sets out the key benefits for gender-diverse peacekeeping units which include the wide range of perspectives and life experiences of both male and female personnel. He is keen, however, to stress that it is not simply inclusion, but meaningful participation which really counts. Truly meaningful participation requires the presence of women in leadership and decision-making roles and well as inclusion in frontline work, where they offer many operational benefits such as access to a much greater percentage of the population. We must not, Rudberg emphasises, become complacent as numbers of women in peacekeeping rise, as this does not always translate into meaningful and influential participation in the defence sector.
  6. Leena Vastapuu (2023) Beans, Bullets and Bandages? Gendered and Racialised Othering in the Depiction of Military Support Work, Civil Wars Vol 25, Issue 2.
    Although the core of Vastapuu's article is based on her fieldwork interviews with a single military support workers in Liberia, she frames her analysis with an excellent overview of the history and historiography of women working in non-combat military contexts. From the camp followers of the medieval age to the nurses of professionalised 19th Century warfare, Vastapuu encourages us to reassess these vital - yet often unpaid - roles as important military labour which is typically ignored in analysis of military history. In the modern context, Vastapuu's key argument here is that it is not only female combatants who are typically overlooked in Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration Programmes: also neglected are the women (and children) who did not bear arms but whose livelihoods were inseparable from the very armed forces now being disbanded in the aftermath of warfare. Failure to consider and mitigate the consequences of ignoring this section of the population can only have damaging consequences for the regeneration of post-conflict society.
  7. WIIS Global (2023) The UN - African Union Partnership on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda: Frameworks, Policies and Strategies [Policy Brief]
  8. Brook Morrison (2023) Beyond Gender Advice: NATO's Implementation of the Women Peace and Security Agenda. 4 York Law Review 42.
  9. Catherine O'Rourke  & Ana Martin (2023) Gender, conflict and the environment: Surfacing connections in international humanitarian law
  10. Juliana Santos de Carvalho (2023) Under the shadow of legality: a shadow hauntology on the legal construction of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, in Public International Law
  11. Carlos González-Villa and Branislav Radeljić (2023) ‘Hypertrophy as NATO’s Masculinity: Out-of-Area Operations and Enlargements in the Post-Cold War Context’, in Journal of International Women's Studies. Vol. 25: Iss. 6, Article 11.
  12. Chehab, Sara J. (2023) Feminist Foreign Policy and the War in Ukraine: Hollow Framework or Rallying Force?, Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 25: Iss. 6, Article 4.

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