The Commonwealth, gender and peacekeeping

Holmes, Georgina (2017). The Commonwealth, gender and peacekeeping. The Roundtable: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, 106(4) pp. 403–419.



Reflecting on the strategic commitment outlined in the Plan of Action for Gender Equality (2005-2015) and the priority issues of the Commonwealth Women?s Forum, this article assesses the extent to which the Commonwealth as an institution is supporting troop and police-contributing member states in addressing the gender imbalance in peacekeeping operations. Drawing on desk-based research, interviews with international policymakers and a statistical analysis of the International Peace Institute Peacekeeping Database, the article first outlines the Commonwealth?s gender and security policy perspective before examining data sets to determine the success of Commonwealth member states in integrating women into uniformed peacekeeping contingencies between 2009 and 2015. The article observes that, in spite of a renewed optimism and drive to propel women into leadership positions in politics, the judiciary, public bodies and private companies, security sector reform and the implementation of pillar one of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, is notably absent from the Commonwealth?s gender agenda. It is argued that this policy gap suggests that national and international security architecture is regarded as an accepted domain of masculine privilege. A lack of political will among Commonwealth Heads of Government to mainstream gender equality and facilitate structural transformation of national security organs, and a chronically under resourced Commonwealth Secretariat limits the influence of the institution to that of arms-length promoter of international norms on women, peace and security.

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