Gender mainstreaming in peace support operations: Moving beyond rhetoric to practice - International Alert

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.

Within the United Nations (UN), the Organisation for Security and Co-operations in Europe (OSCE) and the European Council, substantial advance has been made in the debate of ‘Why’ integrating gender perspectives into PSOs is important. PSOs in East Timor and South Africa have illustrated that gender mainstreaming is possible and can improve the effectiveness of operations, through gender-aware leadership and gender sensitive responses. Such operations have shown that it is important to include women’s experiences and perceptions of conflict transformation in order to ensure sustainable peace. International humanitarian and human rights law, provide both the rationale and the international standards for incorporating a gender and human rights perspective into the increasing spectrum of PSOs.

The adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in October 2000, represented a significant advance in support of gender mainstreaming.The responsibility now lies with the UN and its Member States to implement agreed standards and policies on gender mainstreaming. For this to be realised, a clearly mandated and resourced implementation strategy is required for the multiple areas of operation. Currently, despite the fact that the legal instruments, standards and agreements are for the most part in place, the mechanisms for implementing these still need to be developed.