2013 protests against the Ukrainian government brought forth a new social awareness of women’s roles in conflict and peacekeeping initiatives that challenged the country’s historically patriarchal culture. This U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Policy Brief—“Building Gender Equality in Ukraine”—discusses how this shift in views on gender equality impacted the development of Ukraine’s first National Action Plan (NAP) on WPS, as well as the plan’s strengths and challenges. As a result, Ukraine’s national government has adopted international conventions on gender equality and elevated women to powerful governmental positions. Still, several factors—including insufficient data to track the progress of gender equality initiatives, and devolution to local governments that have neither the resources nor the interest in the NAP’s implementation—undermine these national efforts. Recommendations for the U.S. and international community to bolster the implementation of Ukraine’s NAP include funding for data collection on critical gender issues, and development of programs and humanitarian relief efforts that incorporate a gender equality framework. Read the full brief here.
In this policy brief, Dr. Louise Olsson examines ways in which senior leadership in United Nations peacekeeping operations can better implement their directive to mainstream promotion of gender equality. Senior management must help their teams consider gender in the interpretation of their peacekeeping mandate and move to incorporate gender-sensitive approaches into concrete documentation and tasks. Several context-specific examples are included to demonstrate how this may be accomplished. Finally, the Policy Brief considers the need for organizational capacity to implement relevant policies, the importance of national ownership and consultation of local women—both leaders and women’s groups—and how leadership can better use senior gender advisors and other expert support in their mission. Read the full article here.
A Gender Advisor in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Colonel Amanda Fielding discusses the ways in which Women, Peace and Security (WPS) can be met with less resistance and, therefore, most effectively implemented in military operations. WPS is “not just about equity, but capability” suggesting that the proper integration of women into military operations, such as the Afghan National Defense Security Forces, can enhance operational capabilities. Interestingly, —and despite concerns from WPS-purists—Fielding suggests a twist on the agenda, advocating for replacing the term “WPS” with “gender.” Recognizing the significance of culturally and socially defined roles of women and men may actually bolster policymakers’ acknowledgment of women’s issues and roles in conflict. Read more here.