The Idea of Women in Peacekeeping: Lysistrata and Antigone

Authored by: Mary-Jane Fox

Categories: Peace Support Operations
Sub-Categories: Peacekeeping
Region: No Region
Year: 2001
Citation: Fox, Mary-Jane. "The Idea of Women in Peacekeeping: Lysistrata and Antigone." International Peacekeeping 8, no. 2 (2001): 9-22.

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The relatively recent concept and practice of peacekeeping have been a predominantly male concern, like war and military matters in general. Efforts to introduce gender mainstreaming into peacekeeping missions are notable, yet they are long overdue and hardly a new idea. Two ancient Greek plays, Antigone and Lysistrata, challenge both past and contemporary objections to women’s involvement in matters of peacekeeping as well as the negative stereotyping of women upon which those objections are based. In doing so, they also lend some support to the contemporary notion of essentialism and women’s ‘natural’ predisposition to be nurturing, non-aggressive and conciliatory. They might also, however, serve as evidence for the durability of the constructivist perspective over time. No matter which approach is taken, however, the fact remains that for centuries women have been relegated to the Private sphere of life, and paradoxically seem to have acquired attributes which are relevant in the Public and predominantly male domain of peacekeeping today