Working on Women, Peace and Security: Understanding UNSCR1325

The Oxfam Novib experience, as many of my experiences in The Netherlands,
has helped me think critically of my previous work in Chile and Ireland. In
this case, working on Women, Peace and Security has helped me to question my understanding
of how different legal frameworks done at an international level are
implemented in different programs, or the many ways we can mainstream women
issues.  After almost two decades of the United
Nation Security Council Resolution number 1325, and a cluster of other related
resolutions made on the way, there is need to discuss what has been done so far
and what works.

First, the resolution managed to make gendered inequalities and gendered
violence relevant when talking about conflict and peacebuilding. I think UNSCR
1325 is a starting point, it made relevant the gendered aspects of a conflict,
and it took into consideration the extreme inequalities that a violent context
can do to people depending on their social positions/locations. The question is
HOW? How are these resolutions, and in specific UNSCR1325, talking about women
and how would you implement a discourse on the importance of gender in a
conflict situation?

Although the resolution can be considered a breakthrough toward a
gendered perspective to conflict, the first discursive approach of the Security
Council is of “women as subjects of security”[1],
women as victims in war; therefore, a more protective role is needed from the
international community and states toward women. More recent resolutions have placed
emphasis on women participation as a key starting point, recognizing an
important transformative role in the security framework and decision-making
processes, and adopting the idea of women as agents.

We can see that while the discourse has become more inclusive, the
question still remains how we make the good intentions of the resolutions into
active changes through National Action Plans (NAP). I think the discussion
around the topic includes millions of examples and different references, and
analysis from all sort of perspectives. The bottom line is that there is no recipe
for a National Action Plan. Nonetheless, there are ways to include the
experiences and lessons learned through years of National Action Plans. I believe
that the grounded experiences of women and men in conflict should be key to
move forward, and also that a gender analysis of a conflict situation brings the
structural characteristics and the different dynamics in the specific context,
letting us in that way construct a better intervention with the people involved.

After spending the last weeks reading about programs implemented by The
Netherlands NAP II, I believe that the most interesting synergies were those
that involved women from different contexts sharing their experiences, and
making sure that the efforts done, when possible, were done at every level
–local, national and international.

What we should expect from the Security Council is a real gendered
perspective of conflict. It should acknowledge the differentiated repercussions
and causes for both men and women, and to produce the changes necessary for a
perspective and actions that involve both. The diverse perspectives around
conflict should seek programming that is flexible because of the dynamic
context, with a bottom-up character, and an international discourse that speaks
of women as agents, not victims, but not super women.

Isidora came from Chili to study in the Netherlands and joined us for an internship. She brings valuable background knowledge but she also brings a lot of cheer and a calm presence in the group. 

[1] Shepherd, L. (2011) Sex, Security and
Superhero(in)es: From 1325 to 1820 and Beyond, International Feminist Journal
of Politics, 13(4):504-521


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