A Critical Evaluation of the Implementation of SCR 1325 on Gender Equality of UN Peacekeeping

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science (MSc)

Abstract

In October 2000, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted the resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security (SCR 1325). This resolution is recognized as a landmark commitment of the international community in promoting gender equality, empowering women, and protecting women’s rights in all peace processes. The resolution was the first time in UN history when ‘high politics’ has formally addressed gender issues (Olsson and Tryggestad, 2001). SCR 1325 consists of 18 articles with three main themes: promoting women’s participation, gender mainstreaming, and gender-based violence. Since the adoption of the resolution, the international community seems to be acting in accordance with the resolution, especially in UN peacekeeping. Nevertheless, despite the apparent success, criticism of the efficiency of the implementation of the resolution has been raised. This leads to the research question ‘to what extent the implementation of SCR 1352 can contribute to gender equality’, the goal of SCR 1325.

The study focus is to evaluate the implementation of UN peacekeeping in the three main themes of the resolution because the mandate of UN peacekeeping is to establish peace and security in all conflicted situations, which directly involves with the implementation of the resolution. The study is scoped to examine UN peacekeeping at two levels: policy and operational levels. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), the policy directive unit of all UN peacekeeping, is examined in order to assess the implementation of UN peacekeeping at policy level. At operational level, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is selected as an empirical case as the mission is claimed as the first UN mission that included gender perspectives explicitly in its establishment documentation, and is further claimed as a best practice in bringing gender equality to peacekeeping.
The data is accumulated from the UN, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and civil society documentation as well as individual research related to issues of UN peacekeeping, SCR 1325, and gender issues. In terms of a theoretical framework, the research has adopted postcolonial feminism to explore the answer to the research question because postcolonial feminism provides a substantive concept of gender equality in two aspects. Firstly, the concept of gender equality of postcolonial feminism is not simply about women’s issues, but is involved with equality for marginalized lives. Secondly, postcolonial feminism concerns on different and diverse contexts, and aware of the domination of western feminism idea on gender equality, which seems to be useful for a critical evaluation because many peacekeeping operations occur in developing countries and often in post-colonial countries.

The paper illustrates that the implementation of UN peacekeeping on the three themes of SCR 1325: enhancing women’s participation, gender mainstreaming, and gender-based violence, can contribute only superficially to the issue of gender equality. This study, therefore, argues that the perspective of postcolonial feminism on gender equality, including 1) a recognition not only women, but also marginalized lives, who impacted from gender hierarchy, 2) sensitivity to diversity, difference in specific contexts and locations, and 3) awareness of potential of the colonial assumption of superiority over local people, should be put as a central framework in the implementation of UN peacekeeping to bring substantive gender equality as the international community commits to the resolution.
Date of Award5 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorTorsten Michel (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Gender equality
  • SCR 1325
  • Women Peace and Security

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