International Women’s Day: Read our Top 5 Publications

To mark International Women’s Day we are showcasing the best publications from the last year on the topic. Throughout the TEPSA Network, work is ongoing to produce high-quality research on combatting gender inequality in a variety of fields. Be sure to follow us for more!

1. “Achieving a Feminist Peace by Blurring Boundaries between Private and Public”, Nina Wilén (Egmont, Belgium)

In spite of increased attention to women’s sidelining in matters related to peace and conflict, women continue to be marginalized in peacekeeping missions, peace negotiations and peacebuilding processes. Between 1990 and 2017, women constituted only two per cent of mediators, eight per cent of negotiators and five per cent of witness and signatories in all major peace processes. Yet feminist research has long shown that states with higher levels of gender equality exhibit lower levels of violence during international disputes and crises , and that the treatment of females within a society correlates with the security of states, thereby providing instrumentalist reasons for striving towards a better gender balance following the end of conflicts. In addition, newer research has found a strong link between female political empowerment and civil peace. While these arguments are instrumentalist, academics have also put forward rights-based justifications for increasing women’s participation, pointing at women’s right to not only participate but also to decide on the future of the post-conflict society. Both international institutions such as the UN and academic scholars therefore argue for women’s need to be included in peace processes to build a greater post-conflict gender balance and a more inclusive and durable peace.

Read more here.

2. “Inclusion is Not Enough to Achieve Gender and Racial Equality in Global Peace and Security”, Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Marsha Henry, Robin May Schott and Nina Wilén (DIIS, Denmark)

The last twenty years have brought about a significant increase in the awareness of war practices that harm women, including rape and sexual abuse. However, focusing on women alone is not sufficient if gendered and racialised power hierarchies in the civilian and military worlds are to be understood. Experiences from international peacekeeping since 2000 foreground the need for an intersectional lens to examine how systems of power, including gender, race, North-South axes, age, class and religion, co-exist and interact with each other.

In January 2021, the Danish Ministry of Defence launched a new plan setting out how Denmark should implement United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 of 2000, which is the cornerstone of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda (WPS). The plan contains concrete steps for incorporating gender and diversity perspectives into the Danish defence forces, ranging from recruitment to solving peace and conflict-related tasks globally. Indeed, the timing is right. As Denmark prepares its candidature for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) from 2025, gender equality has been identified as one of the key priorities in the country’s contribution to global peace. Against this backdrop, how can the Danish contribution to this field avoid previous pitfalls and help to open up a broader space for equality in global peace and security?

Read more here.

3. “Women and power: from descriptive to substantive representation”, Mercedes García Montero and Cristina Rivas Pérez (CIDOB, Barcelona)

Great strides have been made over the past few decades in all representative democracies to increase women’s presence in politics and other areas of power. The analysis of women entering these spaces has produced a prolific field of research that considers many aspects, including the obstacles to women’s effective access. This issue of Revista CIDOB d’Afers Internacionals focuses on women’s political representation and presence in areas such as parliaments, governments and international bodies, and examines characteristics, behaviour, attitudes and values. Based on case studies – mainly from Latin America, but also from the international context, Europe and Africa – it seeks to reveal the substantive changes brought about by women entering and influencing spaces of power.

Read more here

4. “The Case for Gender Balance in Arms Control, Non-proliferation and Disarmament Negotiations”, Federica Dall’Arche (IAI, Italy)

Global efforts to eliminate weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and regulate small arms and light weapons (SALW) have gradually increased over the past four decades but the number of women involved in these efforts remains alarmingly small. Women face enormous obstacles when it comes to their participation in diplomatic negotiations and decision-making processes, and arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament diplomacy is no exception. Women continue to be excluded or marginalized from these procedures and when they do participate it is often in low-level positions from which exerting influence is difficult. Studies have shown that women represent only 32 per cent of all participants in official arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament forums and that heads of delegations, as well as speakers in related events and conferences, are almost exclusively men. This paper investigates the possible causes of this imbalance and shows why a continuing gender disparity among experts and practitioners in the field is problematic. It demonstrates that the inclusion of women has positive effects on the outcome of negotiations and examines why this is the case. Finally, it discusses the ways in which the European Union (EU) in particular, and the international community in general, can increase the number of women involved in the field.

Read more here.

5. Briefings Coordinated by TEPSA for the DROI Subcommittee of the European Parliament: “Preventing, Protecting, Providing Access to Justice: How can states respond to femicide?”, Tamsin Bradley & “Femicide, its Causes and Recent Trends: What do we know?”, Consuelo Corradi

For this last publication in our top 5 list, we want to showcase a pair of briefings TEPSA prepared for the DROI Subcommittee in the European Parliament. 

Preventing, Protecting, Providing Access to Justice: How can states respond to femicide?”, Tamsin Bradley

Growing awareness of femicide has not universally translated into effective policy and programming. Though legislation relating to gender-based violence and/or femicide exists in many countries, both persist. A combined social, cultural, political and economic approach situates femicide prevention and responses at various levels, including changes in individual behaviour. Using the term ‘femicide’ more frequently at international forums is crucial not only to focus attention on the gendered nature of violence but also to act as a call for action. Situational studies reveal that political will to end femicide differs from country to country. Femicide together with the patriarchal norms and misogyny that precipitate it are not just extra-EU problems. Rather, they are of global concern, demanding a global response; in non-EU countries this response is often dependent on donor funding. We now know more than ever what works to reverse patterns of violence. These patterns can be broken by developing the capacity of women’s organisations and strengthening global feminist movements that work with national and local activist networks. Additionally, engaging men and boys in this process of transformation is vital if we are to address violence against women and girls and ultimately end femicide.

Download the full study here

Femicide, its Causes and Recent Trends: What do we know?”, Consuelo Corradi

Femicide is a violation of the basic human rightsto life, liberty and personal security, as well as an obstacle to social and economic development. The term indicates the act of intentionally killing a female person, either woman or girl, because of her gender, and it is the end-result of combined risk factors existing at the level of the individual, interpersonal relations, community and society. This crime displays three prominent characteristics: women are disproportionately killed by men; victims have previously experienced non-lethal violence; the rate at which women are killed tends to remain steady over time. Estimates indicate that 87 000 women were intentionally killed in 2017, but the exact number is unknown and suspected to be higher. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation and reduced access to services. Femicide’s classification differs according to context, but most significantly includes: killing by an intimate partner or family member; honour, dowry and witch-hunting deaths; femicide-suicide; pre- and post-natal excess female mortality; infanticide; and deliberate neglect, rooted in a preference for sons over daughters. Collecting accurate data is a strategic goal and necessary to facilitate the design of effective policies.

Download the full study here