Gender and Security in the Mediterranean

Authored by: Cilja Harders

Categories: Conflict Prevention
Sub-Categories: Security Sector Reform (SSR)
Country: Mediterranean Region
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 2003
Citation: Harders, Cilja. "Gender and Security in the Mediterranean." Mediterranean Politics 8, no. 2-3 (2003): 54-72.

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This contribution explores security issues in the Mediterranean from a feminist perspective. Feminists have developed a broad and dynamic understanding of security and insecurity. This approach takes ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ issues as interconnected on the personal, national and international level. This allows for a comprehensive perspective on the basic human need for security. It is argued that EU policies that stress ‘soft’ security issues offer more sustainable and at the same time ‘realistic’ ways of establishing an ‘area of peace and stability in the Mediterranean’ [Barcelona Declaration, 1995] than those that stress ‘hard’ security issues. After discussing feminist and developmental perspectives on comprehensive security concepts, the contribution presents some important indicators of ‘Gendered Human Security’ in EMP countries. It argues that it is important to address the huge gaps in gendered human security in order to strengthen the civil and security dimension of the EMP. The contribution finally explores the possible positive effects of womens’ participation in the armed forces. Will these processes change militarized security cultures and help create a more comprehensive security approach?