IPI together with the Gender, Justice and Security Hub cohosted a discussion on March 13th on the topic of Women’s Agency in Post-Conflict Reconciliation in Colombia, Sri Lanka, and Uganda.Women in Colombia, Sri Lanka, and Uganda have figured prominently among the victims of war. They also face complex challenges in overcoming the legacies of war, […]Read more
Women‚ Peace and Security
Despite over two decades of policy development and commitments to supporting women and girls affected by armed conflict, women’s participation in all levels of decision-making lags due to structural barriers, lack of access to political arenas, and even threats to women who attempt to participate in these processes. Efforts to build and sustain peace continue to neglect the expertise of local-level women peacebuilders, and formal peacemaking efforts continue to resist women’s meaningful participation and women’s rights.
IPI’s women, peace, and security (WPS) program seeks to build connections between the international community in New York and women and gender experts globally. To advance its goals, the WPS program conducts evidence-based research projects and strategic convenings and maintains global, national, and grassroots relationships and partnerships. In addition to its standalone program, IPI’s WPS team supports the mainstreaming of gender and WPS across the organization’s work.
The WPS program at IPI is focused on the future of the WPS agenda. Rather than only reflecting on the past, it looks ahead at opportunities to expand the WPS agenda and to make it more inclusive in order to reach its linked goals of gender equity and peace and security for all. By using an inclusive definition of “gender,” IPI seeks to move beyond using it as a stand-in for “women.” A broad gender analysis—one that acknowledges the spectrum of masculinities and femininities and how these ways of being affect all aspects of peace and security—ensures that IPI is pursuing an innovative, inclusive, and effective WPS research agenda.
IPI’s WPS program focuses on three main streams of work: (1) gender and peace operations; (2) gendered insights into peace and conflict; and (3) strengthening the WPS agenda and women’s leadership within the UN and among UN member states.
Gender and Peace Operations
UN peace operations will not be successful in building sustainable peace if they continue to marginalize women’s contributions and ignore gender dynamics within the UN and in the contexts where the UN operates.
Since 2019, IPI has analyzed and evaluated challenges and successes in increasing women’s substantive participation in peace operations. Calls to increase the number of women in peace operations (whether peacekeeping operations or special political missions) are increasingly intersecting with expectations of what women will “do” in these operations, covering everything from participation in female engagement teams to mediation. These expectations are, in turn, confronting the challenges women face in the security sector. Research on the unintended consequences of various policy and programmatic interventions, on incentives, and, crucially, on what women in uniform want from these initiatives remains nascent. Likewise, research on gendered definitions of security is lacking, and security concerns—both of host communities and uniformed women themselves—are often narrowly defined and not well addressed.
IPI’s project on gender in peace operations seeks to fill that gap. It builds on the organization’s expertise in UN peace operations and rigorous research to analyze and evaluate challenges and successes in increasing women’s substantive participation in peace operations. By working with the UN, governments, and civil society partners, IPI provides concrete policy guidance on what policies and programs are necessary to substantively improve women’s participation in peace operations.
Gendered Insights into Peace and Conflict
IPI will continue to analyze and evaluate the challenges and successes of the women, peace, and security agenda and offer recommendations on the way forward. IPI’s research on WPS not only examines areas that are already part of the WPS agenda and resolutions but also seeks to identify new intersections between gender, peace, and security. This workstream stems from the belief that using a gender analysis will lead to a better understanding and more effective strategies for building peace and addressing insecurity. An essential component of this workstream includes educating and training others in why and how gender analysis is useful.
As part of this research, IPI considers topics such as masculinities, preventing and countering violent extremism, gender-based violence, the climate crisis and the environment, and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR).
Strengthening the WPS Agenda and Women’s Leadership within the UN and Member States
As the WPS agenda approaches its 25th anniversary (marked by the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1325), it faces challenges in terms of implementation, especially in relation to one of its key pillars: promoting women’s leadership. IPI’s WPS program seeks to strengthen the implementation of the WPS agenda broadly as well as through understanding and working to overcome the barriers to women’s leadership. Dedicated, annual events bringing together key stakeholders and policymakers provide much-needed opportunities to talk through creative and practical solutions to the core challenges facing women, peace, and security. To that end, this workstream focuses on three primary areas: (1) connecting protection and participation; (2) strengthening member-state commitments; and (3) engaging feminist leaders.
News, Events, Publications
In cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN and the International Gender Champions Network, IPI cohosted a policy forum on March 7th on the topic of “Using Innovation and Technology to Advance Gender Equality.”The objective of this event was to learn from examples of innovative and technological approaches to improve gender equality […]Read more
IPI and the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, in partnership with the Permanent Missions of Germany, Mongolia, Uruguay, and Zambia to the UN cohosted a policy forum event on November 9th entitled “When We Know Better, We Do Better: The Elsie Initiative and Improving Mission Environments.”Since the launch of the Elsie Initiative for […]Read more
IPI together with the Government of Sweden and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, in cooperation with the Folke Bernadotte Academy, cohosted the annual Women, Peace, and Leadership Symposium at IPI on September 21st. The topic of this year’s symposium centered on “Achieving Sustainable Peace and Security through Gender-Responsive Leadership.”A gender-responsive leader proactively uses her or his […]Read more
UN peacekeeping missions tend to frame conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) narrowly both in terms of who its victims are and who is best placed to address it. The victims of CRSV are usually assumed to be women and girls, and there is often an expectation that women peacekeepers will be better able to address CRSV […]Read more
While only a small percentage of men become involved in violent extremism, the majority of violent extremists are men. Across the ideological spectrum, violent extremist and terrorist groups exploit male sentiments of emasculation and loss of power and appeal to ideas of manhood in their recruitment efforts. Yet policymakers rarely focus on gender to help […]Read more
There are several common assumptions about how women peacekeepers may impact public opinion in the countries from which they deploy. Women peacekeepers may boost public support for peacekeeping by increasing the perceived legitimacy of peacekeeping missions. They may also boost public support for women’s rights by challenging norms around the roles women should perform. Finally, […]Read more
On May 18th, IPI’s Women, Peace, and Security team hosted a virtual policy forum on “Perceptions of Women Peacekeepers.”Policymakers and scholars claim that women peacekeepers will improve the credibility and legitimacy of peacekeeping operations. However, public perceptions of women peacekeepers can vary greatly across contexts, and assumptions that women will improve perceptions of peacekeeping operations […]Read more
While all UN multidimensional peacekeeping operations are mandated to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), the missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan, as well as in the Central African Republic, are also mandated to protect civilians from sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). While SGBV is often used […]Read more
From May 3-5, IPI’s Women, Peace and Security Program co-hosted a three-day workshop with the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security. The workshop, titled “Gender, Childhood, and Community Engagement in Peacekeeping,” took place at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, Ghana.Community engagement is essential for UN peacekeeping missions; however, practical […]Read more