EPRSauthor By / February 11, 2014

Women, peace and security

Gender mainstreaming and gender diversity policies may at first sound like unnecessary complications for security and peacekeeping operations, as gender…

© Vojtech Soukup / Fotolia
Army girl
© Vojtech Soukup / Fotolia

Gender mainstreaming and gender diversity policies may at first sound like unnecessary complications for security and peacekeeping operations, as gender issues are often regarded as less important than the ‘hard’ issues of security and peace building. However, gender issues are at the core of security. Gender is fundamental both to effective crisis management and to human rights. Women play a significant role in conflict prevention and peace building at the local and national levels.

Women’s roles in conflict are often poorly understood and may be consciously or unconsciously disregarded. Women are usually seen as victims in conflict zones. In recent years the international community has become more responsive to women’s diverse roles as actors in conflict prevention, security and peace building. There is understanding that the EU’s response to this must be broadened and encouraged.

In 2000 the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325, Women, Peace and Security, which calls for ‘gender mainstreaming’. This means taking account of gender factors in the planning and implementation of crisis management policies and missions, and gender balancing in civilian and military operations. International organisations, governments and national armed forces have become more and more aware of the gender-related effects of peacekeeping operations. Within the EU, gender mainstreaming in crisis management operations became topical in 2005 when the European Council welcomed a paper by the General Secretariat on Implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the context of the ESDP, and has been encouraged since then.


European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) – Gender, Peace and Security Working Group (GPS WG) website
GPS WG of EPLO works to promote the inclusion of a gender perspective and the meaningful participation of women in European security and peacebuilding policy and practice.

UN Peacekeeping – Women in peacekeeping website (See alsoGender Statistics)

United States Institute of Peace (USIP) – Gender and Peacebuilding website

Achieving Geographical and Gender Balance in the European External Action Service / DG IPOL Study, EP, 2013
This study explores the current state of affairs within the European External Action Service (EEAS) regarding geographical and gender balance. The study briefly outlines the political and legal background to both issues. The issues pose distinct but related questions. Both demand long-term strategies, especially in the light of the shorter term legacy problems inherited by the EEAS from its constituent components. Gender balance has more obvious societal and institutional based measures of balance. The study concludes with a number of specific recommendations regarding possible ways of improving both geographical and gender balance within the still young EEAS.

Maximising EU support to the Women, Peace and Security agenda / EPLO, 2012
Four years since the adoption of the Comprehensive Approach to EU implementation of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 on Women, Peace and Security (Comprehensive Approach), the EU continues to support the full implementation of UNSCR 1325 and subsequent resolutions (1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960), yet much remains to be done to match the EU ambitions on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. EU Member States are leading the way with the number and quality of their National Action Plans (NAPs) on WPS, the key policy instrument at national level on UNSCR 1325: 41% of all NAPs are currently from EU Member States. EU NAPs adopted and revised recently show considerable progress in including minimum standards (clear objectives and priorities, lines of responsibility, time-bound actions, committed resources and monitoring mechanisms) and yet they are neither strategically linked to each other nor to the EU’s own Comprehensive Approach. If the EU is to fulfil its potential to push the WPS agenda forward in third countries as well as within its own system, active engagement and support of the Member States is crucial.

Women, peace and security: translating policy into practice / Funmi Olonisakin; Karen Barnes; Eka Ikpe; London: Routledge, 2011
This book provides a critical assessment of the impact of UN Resolution 1325 by examining the effect of peacebuilding missions on increasing gender equality within conflict-affected countries. The book draws together findings from 8 countries and 4 regional contexts to provide guidance on how the impact of Resolution 1325 can be measured and how peacekeeping operations could improve their capacity to effectively engender security. (Available in EPRS: S 28.08.20 WOM 11)

Briefing Note on Gender, Peace, Security and Development: What can the EU do? / Karen Barnes; EU Gender Advisory Services, 2009
This briefing note focuses on the link between gender, peace, security and development, and provides theoretical and policy frameworks along with practical recommendations backed by examples of how the European Union can more effectively integrate gender issues into its work.This paper provides guidance and practical tools that can be used to ensure that gender issues are effectively mainstreamed into all aspects of the EU’s peace, security and development-related work.

Mainstreaming human rights and gender into European Security and Defence Policy: Compilation of relevant documents / 2008
This handbook gathers together the documents that comprise the guiding principles for planners of EU operations. It also includes examples of how the guiding principles have been used in actual planning documents that have been declassified for this publication.


Not Just a Numbers Game: Increasing Women’s Participation in UN Peacekeeping / Sahana Dharmapuri, International Peace Institute, Providing for Peacekeeping No. 4, July 2013
In 2000, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security. This stressed the need to integrate a gender perspective into the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security, including through peacekeeping operations. However, the inclusion of female uniformed personnel in national contributions to UN peace operations has fallen short of expectations. By March 2013, women comprised less than 4 percent of UN peacekeepers globally, accounting for about 3 percent of UN military personnel and about 9.7 percent of UN police. The UN is unlikely to reach its goals for gender equality in peacekeeping missions because it is not fully implementing its own two-pronged approach: increase the number of women in peacekeeping operations and integrate a gender perspective within these missions. Both goals have gone unmet due to three core issues: the lack of understanding among member states about Resolution 1325 and UN policy on gender equality in peace operations; a gap in data and analysis about women’s participation in national security institutions globally and in UN peacekeeping in particular; and, most importantly, the prevalence of social norms and biases that perpetuate gender inequality within the security sector. Further, the UN and member states’ focus on increasing the numbers of female uniformed personnel has obscured the equally important goal of integrating a gender perspective into the work of peace operations. This study proposes that the policy guidelines already outlined by the UN Departments of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and Field Support (DFS) need to be operationalized through a comprehensive strategic plan supported by strong leadership

The Other Side of Gender: Men as Critical Agents of Change / Joseph Vess, Gary Barker, Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Alexa Hassink; US Institute of Peace, December 2013
This report aims to complement and further the work of the women, peace, and security agenda through a discussion of the formation of male identities, drivers of conflict, and the effects of conflict on male identities. Understanding the varied perceptions and experiences of men and how they can positively contribute to peace and security efforts, this report recommends better inclusion of male issues and their experiences in the shaping of gender-sensitive peace and security policies.

Women, Peace And Security In The Western Balkans / Gorana Odanović; Sonja Stojanović Gajić (ed); Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP), 2013
This report published by BCSP provides an independent review of the initial phase of government-led development and implementation of national policies for translation of UNSCR 1325 in the Western Balkan context. The study provides critical analysis on gender and security reform developments in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia.

Defying Victimhood: Women and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding / UN University Press, 2012
This book draws on comparative case studies and country studies from post-conflict contexts in different parts of world to offer their insights into frameworks for understanding women as both victims and peacebuilders, to trace the road that women take from victimhood to empowerment and to highlight the essential partnerships between women and children and how they contribute to survival and peace. (Available in EPRS: S PVD DEF 12)

European Union’s Gender Policy for CSDP Missions: Contents and Gaps: An assessment of existing policy on ‘Women, peace and security’ with examples from EUPOL COPPS, EUMM Georgia, EULEX Kosovo and EUPOL RD Congo / Louise Olsson, Karin Sundström, contributions by Gabriela Elroy, Marielle Sundin, Martin Åhlin; Folke Bernadotte Akademin; December 2012
This report seeks to answer questions about contents and gaps in existing EU policy related to the thematic UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and its follow-up resolutions. The purpose of the report is twofold. First, it seeks to clarify the obligations of CSDP missions in order to support the Heads of Missions’ ability to execute gender policy. Second, the report seeks to assess the quality of existing policy in order to identify potential gaps and to formulate recommendations on how to further strengthen ongoing work. The report also focuses on the operational aspects of gender policy for CSDP missions and relates these to the broader EU policy framework as formulated in the Comprehensive approach to the EU implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on women, peace, and security (see Council of the European Union 2008b).

The Role of Women in Global Security / Valerie Norville, United States Institute of Peace (USIP), 2011
This report examines women’s roles in peacebuilding, postconflict reconstruction, and economic development. It draws on discussions at the conference on “The Role of Women in Global Security,” held in Copenhagen on October 29–30, 2010 with participants from the United States, Nordic-Baltic countries, Afghanistan, Liberia, and Uganda to focus on the roles that women can play as leaders in areas of active conflict and postconflict. Participants from the public and private sector, including the military, civilian, NGO, academic, and corporate worlds, joined to share experiences and best-practice recommendations on how to increase women’s participation in their communities to effect positive change: resolving active conflicts, assisting in postconflict reintegration, and furthering economic development.

Peacebuilding with a gender perspective: How the EU Can Make a Difference: Synthesis report / Charlotte Onslow; Steven Schoofs; Sarah Maguire; European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO), December 2010
This paper synthesises the findings from three years of work undertaken by the Gender Cluster of the Initiative for Peacebuilding (IfP), which consisted of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) and International Alert in a coordinating role. The focus of the Cluster’s work has been on security, justice and governance, given that these sectors represent critical entry points for peace- and state-building efforts in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. During the lifetime of the IfP the Gender Cluster provided guidance to decision-makers at EU level on gender and peacebuilding, thereby using UNSCR 1325 as a framework and entry point. The activities of the Gender Cluster were designed to generate evidence-based policy recommendations and lessons for more effective support to women’s peacebuilding priorities, as well as addressing the practical challenges that women face. Drawing from the research completed in the last three years, the main purpose of this paper is to locate entry points for the EU and provide examples where the application of a gender-sensitive approach to peacebuilding can improve the delivery of longer-term peacebuilding goals.

Human Rights and Gender Components of UN and EU Peace Operations Putting Human Rights and Gender Mandates into Practice / Jeannette Boehme; German Institute for Human Rights, 2008
The study provides practical insights into the functioning of human rights and gender components by describing how they are put into practice, drawing on best practice examples. The best practice examples included in this study are programmes, projects, and activities that have immediately contributed to the promotion and protection of human rights in host countries or facilitated the integration of gender perspectives perspectives into activities undertaken by peace operations aimed at supporting and strengthening peace processes. The instances described encompass approaches to implementing human rights and gender mandates which, depending on prevailing circumstances on the ground, may also serve as appropriate strategies for future missions but do not represent a general impact assessment of particular functions, components, or missions.

EU Institutions

Council of the European Union

Indicators for the Comprehensive approach to the EU implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security / Council of the EU, 14 July, 2010
Includes the list of Council of the EU documents on the subject (2005a,2008a; 2008b; 2009b; 2010b; 2011b; 2012c);

Lessons and Best Practices of Mainstreaming Human Rights and Gender into CSDP Military Operations and Civilian Missions (Council of the European Union 2010a).

Comprehensive approach to the EU implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security / Council of the EU, December 2008

European Parliament

European Parliament resolution of 2 February 2012 on women’s situation in war 2011/2198(INI)

Role of women in war (Women’s rights/Equal opportunities), 15.06.2011

EU support for the ICC: facing challenges and overcoming difficulties, INI/2011/2109

European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on the implementation of the European Security Strategy and the Common Security and Defence Policy, 2009/2198(INI)
Gender and human rights mainstreaming: Members recall the importance of systematically addressing human rights and gender aspects in all phases of CSDP operations, during both the planning and the implementation phases.

European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, 2010, P7_TA(2010)0439

Gender mainstreaming in EU external relations and peace-building / nation-building, INI/2008/2198

Development perspectives on peace-building and nation building in post-conflict situations, INI/2008/2097

Women and War  – Hearing – Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, May 2008

Gender equality and women empowerment in development cooperation, INI/2007/2182 – A6-0035/2008 – T6-0103/2008

Gender Mainstreaming Action Plan (23 March 2007)
Subcommittee on Security and Defence SEDE

Women in international policy, 2006/2057(INI) – A6-0362/2006 – T6-0497/2006

The situation of women in armed conflicts and their role in the reconstruction and the democratic process in countries after a conflict, INI/2005/2215 – A6-0159/2006 – T6-0245/2006

Prevention and settlement of armed conflicts: gender-related aspects, 2000/2025(INI) – A5-0308/2000 – T5-0539/2000

European External Action Service (EEAS)

Women in armed conflict/women’s role in peace and security website

Women and war: key documents

EEAS: staff rules to ensure geographical and gender balance / 18 October 2010

International Organisations

United Nations

Ten-year Impact Study on Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security in Peacekeeping / Sofi Ospina, 2010
The study reviews a decade of implementation of United ations Security Council Resolution 1325. It assesses the impact of peacekeeping operations as regards the advancement of women’s rights and the promotion of gender quality in accordance with selected articles of SCR 1325 under seven thematic areas: Women’s participation in peace negotiations and peace agreements, Women’s participation in political processes and governance structures in conflict-affected countries, Gender sensitivity and women’s participation in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, Gender sensitivity and women’s participation in security sector reform, Legal and judicial reforms, Sexual and gender-based violence, protection of women IDPs and refugees. The body of this report describes, for each thematic area, selected activities conducted by the missions, achievements and challenges and the impact of peacekeeping missions, and offers a number of recommendations.”

Security Council Resolution 1820 on Women, Peace and Security (19 June 2008)

Women, Peace and Security (2002)
Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) mandated the Secretary-General to carry out a study on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, the role of women in peace-building and the gender dimensions of peace processes and conflict resolution. The study draws on the collective experience of the UN system. It analyzes the impact of armed conflict on women and girls; describes the relevant international legal framework and assesses its implementation; and reviews the gender perspectives in peace processes as well as in peace operations; humanitarian operations, reconstruction and rehabilitation, including DDR processes. The study includes recommendations for concrete action to ensure greater attention to gender perspectives in all these areas of work. Based on the findings of the study, a report of the Secretary-General was submitted to the Security Council (S/2002/1154)

Landmark resolution on Women, Peace and Security / OSAGI  (Resolution 1325 (2000) Adopted by the Security Council at its 4213th meeting, on 31 October 2000; Inter-agency coordinationReports by Secretary-GeneralRelevant documents and reportsPublications)

Council of Europe

Recommendation CM/Rec (2010) 10 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the role of women and men in conflict prevention and resolution and in peace building.

International Security Information Service, Europe (ISIS)

Gender and Security website (includes relevant EU, EP, UN, NATO, OSCE and other documents on gender, peace and security).

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