the international community has progressively realised the importance of gender perspectives in peace processes, not only because of the gendered nature of conflict – which has a differential impact on women and girls, men and boys – but also due to the added value of women’s agency in these processes. As such, an issue that has become pivotal in peacekeeping is that of gender mainstreaming.
Over time, normative frameworks have evolved. these aim for gender equality, and include united Nations Security Council (uNSC) resolution 1325 and attendant resolutions of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda. the emerging view is that the inclusion of gender perspectives in the work of peacekeeping has a central role in the continued credibility for peacekeeping operations, and in the overall achievement of sustainable peace and security.
Advocacy for the improved engagement of women in peace processes has been undertaken by civil society organisations and academia. Due to socially ascribed gender roles that place them in a subordinate position in relation to males, women and girls have increased vulnerability to violence; in post-conflict situations, the most common form is sexual violence. As a result, 'women and armed conflict' was identified as a critical issue at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995), prompting the adoption of gender-sensitive language in conflict resolution work. Progress culminated in the adoption of the landmark uNSC resolution 1325 in 2000. With the emergence of the Windhoek Declaration and the Namibia Plan of Action on Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Support Operations (2000), peace operations have become instrumental in ensuring equality in addressing the needs of women and men in the local population.
Achievements by the united Nations (uN) in its peace operations include the institutionalisation of gender mainstreaming with the gender focal points and units at headquarter and field levels; an increase in the number of female personnel in line with the uN's system-wide goal of gender balance; deployment of all-female police units in countries such as Liberia, haiti and the Democratic
republic of the Congo; gender training for military, police and civilian peacekeeping personnel; and incorporation of gender perspectives in planning and programme budgets. the African union (Au) has also demonstrated increasing commitment to gender mainstreaming, as reflected in the Au's Constitutive Act; the Au Women and Gender Development Directorate; the Au's Gender Policy; the Gender training Manual for peace support operations; and the salience of gender offices in the Au-uN hybrid Operation in Darfur (uNAMiD), the Au Mission in Somalia (AMiSOM) and the African-led international Support Mission in Mali (AFiSMA).
Nonetheless, successful implementation of uNSC resolution 1325 in peace operations remains limited and inconsistent. there is a need for further reflection on the central role of gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations in Africa to increase operational effectiveness. in particular, the opportunities for further gains in the implementation of the WPS Agenda within peace operations must be highlighted. this training for Peace (tfP) in Africa Special issue of Conflict Trends further contributes to this discussion. it provides a forum for reflection from academics, policymakers and practitioners on key gender issues within peacekeeping operations, going beyond an approach that presents women only as victims, to reflect women's active roles as agents in peace and security issues. Some of the articles present timely analyses of peace operations, and the practical ways in which the WPS Agenda has been implemented in Africa. Others focus on the gendered impact of conflict to encourage transformation rather than reinforcement of power structures. this issue also embarks on a conceptual understanding of the normative and policy frameworks for gender mainstreaming in peace operations.
Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD.
by Vasu Gounden
An Overview of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda: Resolution 1325
by Seun Abiola and Zinurine Alghali
Gender Mainstreaming Policies and Practice in Peacekeeping Operations
by Olivia Victoria Davies
Mainstreaming Gender into African Union Peace Support Operations: Why We are Getting it Wrong
by Yvonne Kasumba and Walter Lotze
Gender Considerations in the Protection of Civilians: Experiences from Field Missions
by Martha Mutisi
Women in Peacekeeping: The Emergence of the All-female Uniformed Units in UNMIL and MONUSCO
by Catherine A. Onekalit
The Role of the UNMISS Gender Unit and Officers in Peacekeeping Operations
by Maria Nakabiito
AMISOM Troop-contributing Countries and Female Representation
by Nicolle Chido Manjeya and Olivia Victoria Davies
Ten Years of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme
by Priyal Singh