International Handbooks on Gender series
Edited by Jill Steans and Daniela Tepe
Chapter 33: Peacekeeping
This chapter begins by describing contemporary United Nations (UN) sanctioned peacekeeping operations before outlining how feminist networks have critiqued and intervened in them. Feminist networks active in the UN system insist that gender analysis should shape the peacekeeping agenda, asserting a place for women’s issues as human rights questions and central to peace operations. Issues pursued include: recognition of combat-related violence against women; women’s participation in peace negotiations and broader peace operations; expanding the scope of operations to address women’s political equality and security from both public and private violence; the impact of peace operations on gender relations; and sexual abuse and exploitation committed by peacekeepers. Many feminists active in the UN call for gender mainstreaming as the solution to peacekeeping operations’ negative impacts on women. Some argue that integrating a gender perspective into peace operations makes them more successful overall. Since the 1990s UN peace operations have linked peace with representative democracy, economic growth and human rights. Between 1948 and 1988 the UN deployed only 16 peacekeeping operations, which remained politically neutral and limited to monitoring ceasefires and international borders. By contrast, since the 1990s peacekeeping operations have supported fundamental political, economic, social and judicial reforms in co-operation with a range of international organisations.
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