Gender and Security

Over the last two-decades, the idea that gender has a central role in conflict, peace-making, migration, militarism, statecraft and more has become wide-spread.

On the international stage, the relationship between gender, conflict and security has been enshrined in the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda, consisting of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 (2000) and subsequent follow-up resolutions.

While the inclusion of women and gender considerations within the remit of the Security Council and as a central pillar to consider in security practices, conflict management, global crises and peace-work is incredibly important, scholars have argued that the WPS agenda does not go far enough in terms of considering the root causes of war or the intersectional nature of gender identity and has a tendency to focus on women primarily as victims rather than agential actors, while neglecting a focus on masculinities.

Feminist scholarship has increasingly shifted the definitional parameters of (in)security beyond formal declarations of war and peace to include lived ‘everyday’ experiences and their intersectional dynamics. It sees a continuum of violence beyond war and recognises and the complex ways that gender is performed, represented, policed and constructed in conflict-affected or securitised spaces. The very notions of security and insecurity have been shown to be bound up with gendered emotions, affect, language and cultures, particular gendered conceptions of sexuality, nationality and race, and practices that rely on the formal structures of masculinity and femininity to be rendered intelligible.

The relationship between gender and security remains central to the way that security and peace are understood in scholarship, policy and practice and is a vital area of study.

Within this thematic strand of the Centre for Security Studies, core areas of focus include:

  • Gender and humanitarian actors
  • Gender and post-conflict peacebuilding
  • Gender, war trauma and war memory
  • Gender and the military
  • Gender and migration
  • Feminist theories of security
  • The intersections between gender and race in security practices
  • Women and security institutions
  • Literature, gender and war

At Loughborough, our approach to gender and security is interdisciplinary and methodologically innovative. We have a strong focus on empirical engagement, starting with gendered lives and experiences, as well as being committed to pushing the boundaries of theorising around gendered roles, performances and frameworks in the context of war, peace and (in)security.

Thematic Lead: Dr Hannah Partis-Jennings