Posted by: bklunk | January 31, 2007

Gender Makes the World Go Around

I think this is a really interesting post. Gender theorists have told us for years that gender is a hidden dimension of conflict and that the effectively masculine construction of warfare as masculine has masked the costs of war essentially born by women. The deployment of an all-female peacekeeping/peacemaking force in Liberia seems to respond in a direct way to this kind of understanding.

U.N. Women Peacekeepers in Liberia

In an article from yesterday I read about the U.N. women only peacekeeping group created in hope women and children will think of this group as more approachable in conflict zones. It is made of 100 Indian policewomen and they arrived in Liberia on Tuesday. Many women have served positions in the U.N. peacekeeping forces, but this is the first women only group. I believe it is a great step for women to be taken more seriously around the globe, as well as, countries in which their culture makes the women be more reserved towards men can feel more comfortable dealing with women. Another very important event in which could have been one of the reasons for U.N. to have done this group would be the incident last year when relief groups in Liberia were accused of trading food for sex with girls left homeless by the war. Since then the U.N. has implemented strong policies to make sure sexual exploitation in the country is prevented. This group of women peacekeepers can bring a different sense of peace and be more successful and innovative.

Source: New York Times-nytimes.com. Article dated January 30, 2007 by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

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Responses

  1. I think this is really cool! It’s interesting to see how it fits in with the masculine connotation of war.

  2. I do believe that this group of women peacekeepers will have success. Interesting enough, even though men have traditionally been seen as having a dominate role in diplomacy and war, women have the potential to make even greater the role of peace keeping. As what we have learn about the Feminist Theory, women have been very crucial in the world of politics and diplomacy, as wives of diplomats as well as ambassadors, and many other international related officials.

  3. I think it’s a great idea for a women’s peacekeeping group to act as part of the UN. Women may be able to go into conflict zones and have an impact that men don’t. Women are not seen as threatening as men. If they can bring a different perspective to these places and try something new to help prevent them from going to war than it is worth a try. If the group has a big impact it can further the role of women around the world as well.

  4. I also agree in that the women’s peacekeepers group will be a success, in many ways actually. This kind of job has always been in the hands of men, and for women to be a part of it is a step up, and maybe even a step closer to other big things. For one thing, respect. but I can’t help but wonder if it’s success will last long, or simply for a moment. Without a doubt, issues will arise, the group will have to deal with many obstacles to attain that success, I just wonder how well they will be able to deal with it, and how prepared they are, or how prepared they actually will be.

  5. Not only does the deployment of an all female peacekeeping force in Liberia empower women both there and around the globe but it also more accurately addresses the needs of many war torn areas. Often times the scope of effects of a war or conflict is narrowed to unstable governments and predominantly male military or paramilitary casualties. However the institution of an all female peacekeeping force broadens that scope to include the damage done to family and culture as a whole. That is not to say that women are not capable of handling peacekeeping from a political or economic standpoint. However, in a place where women predominantly work in the home and a large gender gap is perceived, a female peacekeeping force can serve a huge segment of the population that was previously neglected. In short, this type of peace keeping force is an integral part of serving Liberia’s people in their current social and political situation instead of serving them as if they were in the sociopolitical situation that much of the west wants them to be.

  6. If the United Nations wants to take the masculinity out of WARfare, why are they sending in female PEACEkeepers? I sort of understand the idea that in some cultures women are more “approachable,” but how is a women’s amicability really going to help if she does not also have the ability to protect? Are these U.N. peacekeepers armed? Are they trained to handle unexpected combat situations? Honestly, I am all for sending these ladies in for humanitarian aid purposes, but they should not be used as a replacement for skilled military personnel.

    As for the argument that sexual exploitation will be reduced if all-female groups are sent in to destitute areas instead of all-male groups, I say: that just isn’t true. An unarmed U.N. peacekeeper could be raped or abused just as easily as any other woman; and exploitation of this kind is intolerable no matter who the victim is! Of course, these women from the United Nations would probably be guilty of less abuse than their male counterparts, but that doesn’t mean that they are incapable of wrongdoing! Rather than removing a strong male presence completely (in order to decrease sexual crimes) why not implement more thorough punishments for offenders? Not very many men would attempt raping an innocent person if they knew they would be castrated in return!

    Men and women most definitely have their roles on the international scene, and there is certainly a need for a balance of the two. Women and men bring different advantages and disadvantages to the table, and it is important to make the most of the positives and decrease the negatives whenever possible. Combining combat with peace is sometimes necessary and is sometimes best. Try to solve a problem with one and not the other, and I guarantee there will be problems of immeasurable proportions!

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