Gender Perspectives and Military Effectiveness

Implementing UNSCR 1325 and the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security

Authored by: Robert Egnell

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: National Security Forces and Armed Groups, Security Sector Reform (SSR), Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Country: United States
Region: North America
Year: 2016
Citation: Egnell, Robert, “Gender Perspectives and Military Effectiveness: Implementing UNSCR 1325 and the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security,” Prism 6, no. 1 (2016): 73-87

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Executive Summary

In January 2013 then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta rather unexpectedly lifted the ban on women in combat roles. This came after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan where women had distinguished themselves in many ways—not the least of which included combat. The debate on the implementation of this decision has since raged, raising questions about physical standards and the impact on unit cohesion, among other things. The last few years have also witnessed a necessary discussion about the outrageous frequency of sexual assaults within military organizations. These debates have placed gender issues in relation to military organizations high on the agenda of public debate. To further the discussion on gender in military affairs, this article discusses two questions: why should gender perspectives be introduced and implemented in military organizations? And how should this process be managed to do so successfully?