International Women’s Day: Read our Top 5 Publications

To celebrate International Women’s Day we are taking advantage of our regular #PublicationOfTheDay feature on social media to highlighting the best recent articles from the TEPSA Network on the topic. Be sure to follow us for more!

“Overlooked and underrated? The role of youth and women in preventing violent extremism”, Moussa Bourekba (CIDOB, Barcelona)

Preventing violent extremism (PVE) strategies tend to consider youngsters and women as victims of violent extremism, and thus as mere beneficiaries of PVE policies. However, there is an urgent need to truly involve youth and women in PVE efforts as they better understand their peer’s grievances.    

“Women, gender and think tanks: political influence network in Twitter 2018”, Cristina Manzano and Juan A. Sánchez-Giménez (Elcano, Spain)

The presence of women in think tanks is still lower than that of men but, in addition, female influencers seem to be less influential in Twitter than their male counterparts. In addition, gender studies are hardly taken into account in the different fields of the analysis of international relations.

During 2018 we have monitored the network of relationships of the world’s leading think tanks and some of its analysts and have added a small network of gender research centres and activists, and women analysts interested in these issues. Our representation of reality, however, gives rise to certain questions: how large is the female presence in think tanks?; how do gender studies relate to the rest of the international relations field?; and how does the gender focus flow within the network?

“Female Peacekeepers and Operational Effectiveness in UN Peace Operations”, Kari Osland, Jenny Nortvedt and Maria Gilen Røysamb (NUPI, Norway)

More women are needed in UN peace operations, both on the grounds of equality and performance. March 2020 survey data and empirical evidence from the Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network (EPON) highlight the importance of greater gender parity in UN peace operations for missions to successfully achieve their mandated tasks, stressing also the impact of context-specific obstacles and how the absence of enabling and supportive systems means that neither male nor female peacekeepers can perform at their best. Survey findings also point to the risk that the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda – including gender equality in peacekeeping operations – may be treated as a second-tier concern if set against other pressing issues. In the midst of the current Covid-19 pandemic and an evolving global recession – this risk is intensified. A continued political and financial commitment to increasing numbers is a prerequisite for achieving greater gender parity and equality. However, in terms of discourse, we need to move beyond having to prove the added value of female participation, which places an extra burden on those concerned.

“The Impact of COVID19 on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda”, Kari M. Osland, Maria Gilen Røysamb and Jenny Nortvedt (NUPI, Norway)

The year 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, meetings to mark these anniversaries have been put on hold. Although all regions are affected by COVID-19, the consequences are unevenly felt. Emerging research and lessons from previous pandemics indicate that women are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Generally speaking, times of crisis tend to reveal and reinforce socio-economic inequalities, reflecting the distribution of power in societies. Lack of resources generally impacts women more than men; during the current lockdown, reports of sexual and gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence against women and girls, have spiked. The UN has recently announced that the COVID-19 crisis threatens ‘to push back the limited gains on gender equality and exacerbate the feminizing of poverty, vulnerability to violence, and women’s equal participation in the labour force’.

“‘This agenda will never be politically popular’: Central Europe’s anti-gender mobilization and the Czech Women, Peace and Security agenda”, Mila O’Sullivan (IIR, Czech Republic)

The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda has recently started to gain traction in Central Europe, notwithstanding discussion in the region about the harms that the so-called “gender ideology” allegedly causes. In 2017, the Czech Republic was the first Central European country to adopt its National Action Plan (NAP) on WPS. Through analyzing the Czech NAP, we explore what kinds of WPS policies can emerge in a seemingly hostile institutional environment, where the pursuit of gender equality is frequently ridiculed and the WPS agenda itself is nicknamed “wine, women, and song.” By combining a feminist institutionalist approach with feminist discourse analysis, we uncover the interplay of formal and informal institutional practices and anti-“gender ideology” discourses during the creation, adoption, implementation, and review of the Czech NAP. We show that, due in part to this glocalized backlash against “gender ideology,” the Czech NAP has been driven from the top down by a small group of femocrats who tend to focus on “small victories” and are careful not to draw too much attention to gender-related agendas. The resulting NAP, however, becomes a declaratory instrument grounded in gender essentialism, a narrative of victimhood, and conventional assumptions about women’s roles in peace and security.