Table of Contents

Handbook on Gender in World Politics

Handbook on Gender in World Politics

International Handbooks on Gender series

Edited by Jill Steans and Daniela Tepe

The Handbook on Gender in World Politics is an up-to-date, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary compendium of scholarship in gender studies. The text provides an indispensable reference guide for scholars and students interrogating gender issues in international and global contexts. Substantive areas covered include: statecraft, citizenship and the politics of belonging, international law and human rights, media and communications technologies, political economy, development, global governance and transnational visions of politics and solidarities.

Chapter 33: Peacekeeping

Carol Harrington

Subjects: politics and public policy, international relations


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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