WIIS and Embassy of Liechtenstein Host Discussion on Publication on 21st Century Stategies for The Gender and Security Agenda

On October 26, the Embassy of Liechtenstein and Women in International Security (WIIS) hosted a book launch discussing the publication “The Gender and Security Agenda – Strategies for the 21st Century.”

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The event was moderated by Dr. Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, President of WIIS, who also co-edited the book. Panelists included contributors to the book: Dr. Michael E. Brown, book co-editor and Professor of International Affairs & Political Science, George Washington University Elliott School; Dr. Edward R. Carr, Professor of International Development, Community, and Environment, Clark University; Dr. Jeni Klugman, Managing Director, Georgetown Institute for Women Peace and Security; and Dr. Kathleen Kuehnast, Director, Gender Policy & Strategy - US Institute of Peace.

Ambassador Kurt Jaeger opened the event commenting on how Liechtenstein has been a prominent supporter of the United Nations’ Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS) and Security Council Resolution 1325, which, celebrating its 20th anniversary, urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all UN peace and security efforts.

De Jonge Oudraat explained that the book was developed with a common framework. It is a collective effort by the authors and contributors with chapters that summarize WPS scholarship and policies since 1990s. It outlines progress made so far and obstacles to advancement, along with long-term strategies towards improvement.

Dr. Kuehnast emphasized that gender is not just for women, but also refers to power dynamics of how society sets norms and ideals to sexes. Gender refers to what is being done to disrupt this dynamic. What are the power dynamics in armed conflict? The book looks at how armed conflict affects men and women and sexual violence, which has not been addressed in policy sphere until recently. Progress has been made. UNSCR 1325 was not just about men and guns, but women becoming a key part of security to which there is still a long way to go.

Dr. Carr said his chapter focused on environmental security where little work has been done that looks at the gender dynamic. If you look at subsets, like water, there is variation to which gender has been integrated. However, there is an absence of gender in issues of climate and conflict. Attention to gender in this area is often over simplified.

Dr. Klugman said it is crucial to analyze education, health, and economic opportunities. These areas are closely correlated and are a motivation for the development community. There is a connection between women’s inclusion and human development across countries. There is also a link with GDP – the more a state is inclusive of women the better the economy develops.

There are legal barriers that lead to social discrimination holding back women’s economic opportunities in participating in labor market or opening a business.

More information on the book can be found here.