'Walk[Ing] the Halls of Power'? Understanding Women's Participation in International Peace and Security

28 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2014  

Catherine O'Rourke

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute

Date Written: December 12, 2014

Abstract

The prioritisation of women’s participation in the Women, Peace and Security agenda inaugurated by Resolution 1325 has marked a watershed: feminist demands have been articulated in terms that have been accepted by the institutions and processes of international peace and security. Critiques, however, of the focus on participation — that either question the quality of the gains delivered, or the wisdom of prioritising participation in unreformed institutions — suggest a need for greater conceptual clarity around participation as an objective and outcome in feminist engagement with international peace and security. This article draws on arguments for women’s participation in feminist political theory in order to delineate five meanings of participation within the Women, Peace and Security Resolutions, namely: participation as the presence of role models; participation as representation; participation as deliberation; participation as inclusion; and participation as expertise. This article finds that the text of the Resolutions evidence erroneous interpretation and application of feminist arguments for participation, with the result that the Resolutions prioritise the advancement of a presumed set of ‘women’s interests’ in peace and security over the actual presence of women in peace and security decision-making.

Keywords: women, peace, security, resolution 1325

Suggested Citation

O'Rourke, Catherine, 'Walk[Ing] the Halls of Power'? Understanding Women's Participation in International Peace and Security (December 12, 2014). Melbourne Journal of International Law, Vol. 15, 2014; Transitional Justice Institute Research Paper No. 14-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2537401

Catherine O'Rourke (Contact Author)

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute ( email )

Shore Road
Newtownabbey, County Antrim BT37 OQB
Northern Ireland

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