Female Peacekeepers and Gender Balancing: Token Gestures or Informed Policymaking?

TitleFemale Peacekeepers and Gender Balancing: Token Gestures or Informed Policymaking?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsKarim, Sabrina, and Kyle Beardsley
JournalInternational Interactions: Empirical and Theoretical Research in International Relations
Date Published08/2013

Since the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 (2000), which is referenced in most of the mandates for peacekeeping authorizations and renewals as of its adoption, UN peacekeeping forces have begun a process of gender balancing. While there has been an increase in the numbers of female peacekeepers during the decade 2000–2010 and variation in the distribution patterns of female military personnel, it is not known if female military peacekeepers are deploying to areas that are safest or to areas with the greatest need for gender-balanced international involvement. Because the decision-making authority in the allocation of peacekeeping forces rests with the troop-contributing countries, which might not have bought into the gender balancing and mainstreaming initiatives mandated by the UN Security Council, the authors propose and find evidence that female military personnel tend to deploy to areas where there is least risk. They tend not to deploy where they may be most needed—where sexual violence and gender equity has been a major problem—and the authors find only a modest effect of having specific language in the mandates related to gender issues.

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