Custom «A Role of Gender in Peacemaking and Humanitarian Institutions» Essay Paper Sample

A Role of Gender in Peacemaking and Humanitarian Institutions


Nobody would disagree with the fact that peacekeeping and humanitarian missions are essential for preserving international security. A wide range of peacekeeping institutions, especially OSCE and the UN, strive to address military conflicts worldwide. Nevertheless, this field lacks integrity and flexibility in terms of implementing effective strategies of peacemaking. Ceasefire does not necessarily mean the establishment of a stable socio-economic state within a conflict zone, so that the objective of protecting civilians is not met to a sufficient extent. This is frequently associated with overlooking the gender perspective, which actually plays a pivotal role in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. The issue is mainly related to participation of females in these activities. Their insufficient number is already admitted, but their ability to bring new experiences and knowledge to peacemaking should be institutionalized. Hence, the following paper is focused on gender politics in peacemaking and humanitarian operations.

The following paper promotes a view that females should constitute an essential component of any peacekeeping institution. Such a statement is mainly determined by evidences of successful performance of women in Kosovo, which proves that they are capable of delivering valuable expertise to international security practice. Likewise, the aspect of gender itself in peacemaking missions implies a different approach to addressing issues related to conflict resolutions. These issues include social, administrative, civil, and infrastructural considerations. In the same vein, proactive participation of women in peacekeeping operations will result in a decrease of male supremacy in peaceful regions as well as in conflict zones. That is why, involvement of women in activities concerning international safety is related to multiple aspects of gender equality: from sexual harassment to provision of access to a specific range of activities.

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The following study discusses such central ideas: reasons for taking the gender perspective, its practical as well as social implications, and outcomes on a large scale. Therefore, it is critical to admit that the study supports the view that participation of females is a much needed aspect of contemporary peacemaking and international security, but a lack of a distinct framework and poor comprehension of female role in peacekeeping thwarts this integration. At the same time, the paper places an emphasis on advantages of involving females in humanitarian operations. Also, their participation is not limited to taking civilian actions. As a matter of fact, the presence of females in the UN military forces is a distinct evidence of a potential success concerning integration of the gender perspective in a regular peacemaking and humanitarian practice of international safety institutions.


Central Ideas

The recent empirical as well as theoretical literature revolves around the following issues related to the gender perspective in peacemaking and humanitarian missions. The first one is the matter of respecting human rights worldwide. Racism, sexism, and other evidences of supreme pressure are common features of all armed conflicts. Thus, women remain the most vulnerable in these conflicts, which usually affects social sustainability. Consequently, females can both participate as civilian decision-makers as well as representatives of the UN armed formations for establishing peace and social sustainability within a combat zone (Bastick 2014). Women are the most affected victims of military conflicts, which implies that they have a sufficient degree of motivation and commitment to solve them (Bastick 2014). Moreover, a common goal of establishing gender equality is consistent with humanitarian and peacemaking operations within the territories of armed conflicts. Hence, it is essential to consider the gender perspective in order to promote social welfare worldwide.

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Consequently, considerable female expertise in conflict solution is important. First of all, it is important to mention that females are affected by military conflicts in terms of sexual harassment, loss of a family, poverty, etc. Therefore, their knowledge can be used for addressing these problems and maintaining social well-being on conflict territories (Bastick 2014). Second of all, the United Nations stress a need for proactive involvement of women in peacemaking operations, owing to the fact that it is not only an effective way to decrease gender inequalities but also a way of enforcing a policy of diversity and tolerance within conflict zones (Bastick 2014). This statement can be explained by the fact that there no ample evidences of abusive behavior among women, even though they directly participate in military conflicts.

By the same token, the UN suggests that involvement of women in peacemaking and humanitarian operations brings entirely new experiences to these activities. For example, participation of women in peacemaking implies a different vision of a problem, so that a combination of male and female perspectives on a particular military conflict will provide effective and long term social welfare on conflict territories (Carreiras 2015). Furthermore, a female vision of a conflict includes the views of other parties, which do not participate in a conflict directly, but fell the prey to turmoil (Carreiras 2015). It is worth highlighting that such statements are not underpinned with stereotypical image of females. The UN claims that the role of women in peacemaking is limited and this process lacks many positive aspects that may be improved with the help of female participation (Harrington 2006).

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In addition, it is important to involve women in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions because it helps to tackle the spread of stereotypes about women. In spite of the fact that warfare is mainly a male activity, inclusion of women provides genders with equal access and presents females from a positive angle (Cockburn & Hubic 2002). The main purpose is to restore a balance between genders. Women have already proved that they are able to complete various, originally male, activities. That means that they can work on peacemaking mission as well as in the UN police forces (Cockburn & Hubic 2002). Considering the arising trends described above, female participation in peacemaking is not controversial any more. This statement is undebatable because the work of women demonstrates a lot of apparent advantages worldwide and it is worth discussing it in a critical review.

The integrated approach of the United Nations for solving conflicts comprises a complex of reasons for involving females in peacemaking and humanitarian operations. This approach will address social, infrastructural, and administrative issues. Previous experience of female participation demonstrates that women are familiar with such type of work (Harrington 2006). The main problem, however, is the absence of a distinct framework and arrangements for training female participants. Deep understanding of a problem does not necessarily mean that a workable solution can be found (Henry & Higate 2013). All the advantages mentioned above may create a sufficient foundation for the further practice of involving women in peacemaking and humanitarian operations. However, there is a need to create a distinct methodology because such processes are hardly institutionalized and organized. The current state of this issue requires a more detailed investigation, even though the problem is finally recognized by peacemaking institutions and governments.

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Empirical Reflection

In order to speak about empirical evidence and origins of female participation in peacemaking initiatives, it is important to outline the social background of this problem. As it has been mentioned earlier, women are the most vulnerable victims in any military conflict, which means that they lose their dignity and social identity and their well-being is threatened. Any armed conflict provides relevant instances that confirm that the well-being of women is a special concern (Henry & Higate 2013). A lot of women regard prostitution as a means of making a living and even gaining a social status because of sexual or physical abuse and extreme poverty (Higate & Henry 2004). Without any doubt, adverse economic and social conditions are the main causes of such choices, so that women have an obvious right to fight against social and gender disparities.

The female participation in establishing social stability in Kosovo resulted in positive outcomes. First of all, presence of women as infrastructural and social coordinators revealed the issues present on a micro-level of the conflict. Their work in Kosovo, however, was limited to civilian presence (Hudson 2004). Still, female contribution to the solution of the conflict should be regarded from the point of view of the conflict’s causes rather than effects (Hudson 2004). After the Cold War, the paradigm of conflict resolution has been shifted towards elimination of initial causes, which are usually placed far beyond a requirement for a ceasefire (Hudson 2004). Past experiences of the UN peacekeeping missions were usually limited to maintaining social stability, law and order, economic and humanitarian efficacy, and physical separation of forces. Female peacemakers in Kosovo managed to address cultural issues, preserve human rights, and manage civil administration.

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This knowledge and expertise is a direct response to sexual and physical harassment, poverty, etc. which are caused by military conflicts. The failure to pay attention to such issues impacts peacekeeping missions. Unfortunately, traditional peacemaking operations neglect to address conflicts in their narrow terms. The women who participate in peacemaking and humanitarian operations do not necessarily have to possess some negative experience in order to give an appropriate account of a situation (Henry & Higate 2013). As a matter of fact, females, as participants with a different outlook and world view, provide a better insight into human rights and social problems within the areas of a military conflict (Hudson 2004). Thus, participation of women in peacemaking initiatives is justified as well as in civilian missions. Women, as a part of the UN military forces, can also be present due to other reasons.

For instance, women comprise only 3% of the entire armed personnel in the forces of the United Nations. In the same vein, 5% of the American military forces in Afghanistan in 2011 were females, who were completing various intelligence and combat operations (O’Brien 2011). It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the contribution of women to peacemaking worldwide. These data is especially important for promoting gender equality in all spheres initially recognized as purely male. It is certainly not true that women are incapable of completing such sort of tasks without losing their gender identity (Mazurana, Raven-Roberts & Parpart 2005). As a result, participation of women in peacemaking and humanitarian missions is already a relevant evidence, but it is not sufficiently recognized by peacekeeping and humanitarian institutions as well as their governments (O’Brien 2011). Specific methodologies and training sessions usually remain unofficial and voluntary rather than become policy-caused initiatives.

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In order to return to the subject of female expertise in peacemaking, it is worth stressing their effectiveness in the past. In Kosovo, female participation resulted in the development of four dimensions of the peacekeeping agenda (Hudson 2004). The first dimension was the establishment of female mandate on administrative issues of the conflict. Consequently, many aspects of social and infrastructural administration were reconsidered on a large scale, meanwhile local problems were addressed on their micro level. The second dimension was characterized by strong female leadership, which helped to boost and intensify civilian as well as military aspects of the peacemaking process. Subsequently, a special training of female peacekeepers was arranged. Eventually, peacekeeping was mainly provided by female groups, who established contacts with the civilians. The practice in Kosovo and other conflict resolutions are a valuable asset for peacekeeping and humanitarian institutions, which strive to use female experience in their regular activity (Hudson 2004).


All arguments and the examples presented above comprise a complex of relations that reflect the current role of the gender perspective in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions. The first explicit relation is based on a connection between social problems of women in conflict areas and their expertise in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. Women are regarded as more considerate decision-makers, which is why female participation implies that they effectively tackle numerous micro-problems (Mazurana, Raven-Roberts & Parpart 2005). Females are the most vulnerable group of the population within the areas of armed conflicts, and their exposure to external threats is the primary reason for involving them in peacemaking operations (Mazurana, Raven-Roberts & Parpart 2005). Females, who participate in humanitarian missions are well aware of evidences of sexual harassment, physical abuse, poverty, etc. that women face in combat zones. These experiences lead to an appropriate response of female representatives of humanitarian institutions, who are able to bring new solutions for social, administrative, and infrastructural problems.

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Such a description of female expertise in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions is not stereotyped. As it has been already discussed, the adoption of the gender perspective suggests four strategies aimed at maintaining social and military stability within the territory of an armed conflict (Moran 2010). In such a way, a commonly recognized female perception results in the establishment of specific peacemaking mandate, peacemaking leadership, training, and civil relations. The first strategy is employed with the help of female understanding of humanitarian problems, which are addressed at local level but on a large scale (Morris 2010). Leadership is a central foundation of the entire female humanitarian mission at some conflict zone, as long as the allocation of resources for establishing the mandate is made (Moran 2010). Training is also regarded as a compulsory part of peacemaking operations. Eventually, organization of humanitarian operations to serve civilian needs is the most prominent aspect of female activity within areas of military conflicts (Morris 2010). These strategies are evidently flexible and sustainable, but absence of an institutionalized framework makes the strategies hardly possible nowadays.

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At any rate, female participation in peacemaking and humanitarian operations ensure sustainability of these activities. Frameworks and strategies may obtain any form but recognition of the gender perspective and its regular implementation in peacekeeping institutions is the primary objective nowadays. The presence of women in the peacekeeping process is already apparent, but it does not have any organizational form (Moran 2010). One may argue that such a situation may mean that the consideration of the gender perspective is redundant. It is certainly not true, since female experience of peacemaking operations demonstrates an entirely different approach to arising problems. Therefore, the female perspective in humanitarian missions should be appropriately shaped in related policies. Further, their integration together with other approaches can be possible provided there is complete gender equality within the field of humanitarian missions.

As a result, providing genders with an equal chance to participate in peacemaking and humanitarian operations will promote gender equality. Women as civilians and as soldiers of the UN armed forces will represent an example of female involvement in originally male-dominant activities (Morris 2010). That will reflect an overall reduction of sexual harassment, abuse, and other illegal actions towards women worldwide. It is important to remark that equality of genders does not strive to delete gender boundaries. Instead, the common goal is to reduce male abusive behavior based on physical (or any other) supremacy. That is why, these issues are so closely related to international security and humanitarian operations. Women’s involvement in peacekeeping will protect the rest from enormous pressure within the territories of military conflicts (Morris 2010). Furthermore, female participation is likely to result in general enhancement of peacemaking initiatives.











All in all, it is absolutely clear that the gender perspective is vital for peacemaking operations. The implementation of new relevant expertise e will enhance humanitarian missions with regards to social, infrastructural, and administrative issues. Hence, the desired outcome of female presence in peacekeeping missions is the paradigm shift towards elimination of a conflict’s causes and fulfillment of civilian needs. Despite the fact that the gender perspective does not have any clear methodology for implementation, final outcomes of this strategy should not be underestimated (Morris 2010). The need for female participation is underpinned not only by equality considerations but also the necessity to help those women who suffer from military conflicts in various ways (Morris 2010). Besides, the female perspective of armed conflict resolution is particularly valuable for solving problems related to the primary needs of civilians. This is an entirely a new approach to peacemaking missions, which are usually limited to observation and ceasefire initiatives.


Overall, the gender aspect of peacemaking and humanitarian missions is already recognized, since the presence of military and civilian female representatives has increased throughout decades. Hence, the adoption of the gender perspective is an obviously important initiative, as long as it renders multiple advantages to preserving international safety. First of all, women, as holders of a different experience, will significantly contribute to enhancement of the existing peacekeeping strategies. In addition, women are able to recognize and appropriately address civilian, social, and infrastructural problems of military conflicts. The previous success in Kosovo demonstrated that women can hold leading and mandatory positions in humanitarian missions in order to address local problems on a micro level. In such a way, the involvement of women will cause a paradigm shift in providing international security. Moreover, the promotion of gender equality within this field causes the decrease of gender-based supremacy in general.

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It is appropriate to comment on the fact that female participation in peacemaking operations is a feasible and needed objective of international security practice. The main problem is based on the lack of understanding real outcomes of this integration. That is why, the existing practice of female participation is poorly institutionalized and hardly deployable in empirical environments. That can be explained by the absence of profound methodology and perception of female expertise as a different strategic entity. Still, peacemaking institutions are likely to adopt such strategies in the foreseeable future, as participation of women is frequently remarked by these organizations and governments all over the world. This tendency is determined not only by a global trend towards equality and diversity but mainly by a real need to advance peacekeeping performance. Finally, it is reasonable to suggest the research focused on the development of frameworks for female presence in peacemaking and humanitarian operations.

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