BEYOND THE RHETORIC ON GENDER AND PEACEKEEPING

More females are necessary in peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. However, increasing the number of female officers in the field and in senior positions is not sufficient for more effective peace operations. Beyond the image of protected females versus male perpetrators, this article aims to identify what is missing in the debate by deciphering the other side of the monotonous rhetoric on gender, peace, and security. It contributes to the literature by, first, recognizing that women are not only victims of war, but freedom fighters as well as actors of peace. Gender studies should present a picture less based on overstating the victimization of women or on simplistic battle of the sexes that end up reinforcing the gap instead of empowering. It is necessary to distinguish the female roles in peace building from peacemaking and peacekeeping. Second, it analyses the idea of women in blue helmets: a portrait and a reality behind gender, the United Nations, and peacekeeping operations. Finally, it defends that capacity building and empowerment of women should be prioritized over political statistical figures. Consequently, it offers 10 recommendations in line with the principles of equity, equality, and balance for more effective peacekeeping.

More females are necessary in peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. However, increasing the number of female officers in the field and in senior positions is not sufficient for more effective peace operations. Beyond the image of protected females versus male perpetrators, this article aims to identify what is missing in the debate by deciphering the other side of the monotonous rhetoric on gender, peace, and security. It contributes to the literature by, first, recognizing that women are not only victims of war, but freedom fighters as well as actors of peace. Gender studies should present a picture less based on overstating the victimization of women or on simplistic battle of the sexes that end up reinforcing the gap instead of empowering. It is necessary to distinguish the female roles in peace building from peacemaking and peacekeeping. Second, it analyses the idea of women in blue helmets: a portrait and a reality behind gender, the United Nations, and peacekeeping operations. Finally, it defends that capacity building and empowerment of women should be prioritized over political statistical figures. Consequently, it offers 10 recommendations in line with the principles of equity, equality, and balance for more effective peacekeeping.
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Izabela Pereira Watts

Izabela Pereira Watts has been nominated “Top 99 Young Professional World Leaders in Foreign Policy under 33” (2013-Diplomatic Courier-USA). With a large professional experience in peacekeeping, democratic governance, political affairs, and international cooperation, she is currently a lecturer and PhD researcher on International Relations and Political Science at Charles Darwin University (Australia). With experience in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Europe, she has worked with several international organizations such as UN DPKO, UNDP, UN Women, Organization of American States, as well as with the private and public sectors as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil. She is also the founder of International Development Solutions Consultancy.


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