A Sign of Weakness-Disrupting Gender Certainties in the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325

Authored by: Dianne Otto

Categories: Peace Support Operations
Sub-Categories: International Agreements, International Law, Peacemaking
Country: Afghanistan, Timor-Leste
Region: South and Central Asia
Year: 2006
Citation: Otto, Dianne. "A Sign of Weakness-Disrupting Gender Certainties in the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325." Michigan Journal of Gender and Law 13 (2006): 114-75.

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Executive Summary

This article will examine whether efforts to implement the Resolution suggest new ways to address the old problems: the reliance on stereotyped gender representations to rally women in the cause of peace and the vexed strategic question of how movements for transformative change might influence the mainstream institutions of international law and politics. The first concerns the way that the category of gender is deployed by women’s peace activism and by international institutions as they respond to it. The author’s question is whether it is possible to rally women to promote peace, while also challenging the gender dichotomies that underpin the notion of a distinct women’s contribution to peace; whether there are “disruptive” gender identities that can form an emancipatory basis for solidarity between women and men in the cause of peace. The second problem is whether the pacifist and equality goals of women’s peace movements can best be pursued from outside or within mainstream institutions, systems of location which carry their own gendered dichotomies. The long experience of women’s peace activism suggests that the most that can be achieved is a position that is partially inside. Rather than treating partial entry as a failed attempt at full inclusion, the suggestion is that this position might provide a foothold for resistive activity; that it may be possible to use this “in-between” space to remain accountable to anti-militarist “outside” movements while also working from the “inside” to transform military practices and ideologies. This suggestion has important implications for the ongoing struggles for a non-militarized peace and women’s equality, and for future feminist efforts to influence and shape international institutions and their practices in law and politics.