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Lit review

The existing literatures on the involvement of women in PKOs predominantly focus

on the justification of the practice of adding the presence of women under the
provision of UNs gender mainstreaming program. At first, the notion of gender
mainstreaming has come into surface, as there were an alarming numbers of SEA
practices in conflict and post-conflict environment. Both peacekeepers and
perpetrators were responsible for those practices. That has put the reputation of UN in
danger; thus, sending massive numbers of women to the field was viewed as a
necessary and best step to press down numbers of SEA.
The gender-mainstreaming program has brought several theorists to give their
interpretations towards this matter. The theorists have influenced our thinking in
viewing this matter by highlighting the important aspects then making the sense out of
it on the world around us (Peterson and Runyan, 1999). Theories have also used to
simplify the topic we are evaluating. Different perception will bring us into different
conceptualization. As it has been mentioned earlier, this field of study is dominated by
theorists that support the increasing numbers of women for what they are
(essentialists), and on the other hand, those who think that there may be other
consideration to be thought of before sending women to the battlefield
(constructivists). Therefore it is useful to map out these theories in order to understand
their different prominences and comprehensions.
In many cases of SEA, girls and women are approached for sex in return for money or
raped while seeking medical assistance and water. This is a military prostitution that
implies an unequal relationship with the soldiers who are not stigmatized at all for
doing it. It is also seen as a mean, through the organized prostitution, to sympathize
with the enemy. Women and girls are seen as a tool. For instance, when they have
been transported on military ships, they have been listed as military supplies rather
than individuals with identities (Detraz, 2013). The problem here is the idea that they
would do it voluntarily, that they would be free in this choice. This is a clearly
distorted power dynamics because this situation does not involve real choice: they
need it because in conflicts, resources are scarce. So, they accept the last resource
available to them to secure protection and assistance for themselves and their families:
their own body (Spencer, 2005).
Growth in strengthened international humanitarian law and peacekeeping regime in
years have reinforced the effort to protecting women from SEA. The gendermainstreaming regime integrates the sexual violence norms, along with the rights of
women to be represented by women in decision-making in UN peace missions, and
goals to address the needs of women and girls in war and post-war situations. Broad
coalitions of NGOs, social movements and states have convinced UN member-states
that 'women as victims of war' and 'women as creators of peace'(Keck and Sikkink,
1998). In this sense they put the argument of women as natural pacifists implicitly.
Throughout years this support towards womens natural traits are showing in a more
specific international regime, gender mainstreaming in peace mission ratified by the
UN Security Council (UNSC) in 2000. The UNSC recognized women as the actors of
international peace, as stated by UNIFEMs Executive Director:

Without international action, women caught in conflict will have no security of any kind,
whatever the definition. And without women's participation, the peace process itself
suffers,for there will be neither peace nor development.

Nowadays, this view tends to be challenged by degrees of complexity due to the

mentioning of other factors such as culture both in home and host country of the
peacekeepers, the real reasons of women in joining PKOs, the effect of joining PKOs
and its hostility, and other gender matters, which have invited more debates in this
field (Olivera, 2010; Rambotsham & Miall, 2011; Paffenholz 2010, and Lederach,
2008). However, a consistent trend among scholars to view the necessity of inserting
women as natural peace agents remains stated.
This concept of essentialism is referred into attribution in identifying functional
features in certain entity (Cartwright, 1968), which at first was promoted by scholars
such as Plato and Aristotle about hegemony. This approach supported the old view
of conducting peacekeeping mission where women are being sent to the field for who
they are, not for what they do. This theory thus strengthened by the concept of
hegemonic masculinity found in recent literature, such as Connells Hegemonic
Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept (Connell, 2005).
To conclude, while there is still an ongoing debate whether it is really necessary to
add numbers of women in PKOs, several scholars tend to remain stated on their view
of women as natural agent of change. Nevertheless, this assumption remains
irrelevant, looking at numbers of peacekeepers misconduct towards and/or conducted
by women under the provision of the UN. The increasing numbers of women in PKOs
has the potential to the succession of the operation itself; yet, it still has to be
accompanied by other supporting factors.
In relation to this, this thesis intend to deliver an argument that the notion of gender
mainstreaming can still be pursued without making the presence of women as its
priority, based on the original intends of UN Resolution 1325 (2000). In addition, this
study aims to bring a challenging direction in viewing the notion of gender
mainstreaming from the eyes of constructivists.