Gender Mainstreaming in Peace Support Operations

Moving Beyond Rhetoric to Practice

This paper discusses the need, rationale and mandates for mainstreaming gender throughout Peace Support Operations (PSOs). It raises some of the challenges and suggests recommendations for assisting the process. At this critical time in the development of gender mainstreaming within PSOs it aims to contribute to the growing debate of ‘How’ gender mainstreaming policy can be translated and entrenched in practice. It defines the key concepts of gender and the various forms of peacekeeping and provides an introduction to the relevance of gender mainstreaming. It also outlines the importance of achieving a gender balance, gender-aware leadership and gender-awareness training within PSOs and the potential role of women’s peacebuilding organisations in increasing the capacity and effectiveness of PSOs and contributing to longer-term issues of reconstruction and development. It then examines the legal instruments and foundation for mandating gender mainstreaming in international laws and initiatives. It also documents the international humanitarian and human rights laws that provide both the rationale and the international standards for upholding the human rights of women and girls. Depicting the changing nature of armed conflict, the paper also focusses on how peacekeeping can be adapted in order to be more effective. It examines the complex economic, political and gendered power dynamics of the conflict scenarios in which PSOs operate. It explores the gendered nature of conflict and in particular the deliberate targeting and devastation of civilian populations and infrastructure, the development of lucrative war economies, and the types of gender-based violence employed to sustain such conflict. It examines joint initiatives by the Civilian Police (CIVPOL) and UN Commission for Human Rights(UNCHR) to address and remedy violations of human rights, in particular the current abuse of women and girls within systems of sexual slavery and how they could be used as models for adaptation in other countries. It highlights that the phenomena of gender based violence has significant implications for PSOs and that there is a need for greater recognition of how violence is exercised in current conflicts.It explores the key factors of mainstreaming gender within PSOs and its interface with policy mandates, providing documentation and analysis of gender balance and the role of women in different types of peacekeeping operations organised by the UN and other regional bodies inmilitary, civilian police peacekeeping forces and civilian humanitarian components In the next sectrion, it examines some of the potential mechanisms and existing challenges for mainstreaming gender into PSOs. It describes examples of good practice and areas of shortfall in terms of achieving the standards set out in policies and legal frameworks. Resource allocation and time are recognised as real constraints.