Dr. Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv
The complex civil-military operations of the early twenty-first century were a testing ground for the implementation of the groundbreaking October 2000 United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security. The test went beyond the instrumental “increasing gender awareness” amongst militaries and their governments. The very nature of these complex civil-military operations have also been gendered. The use of force and enemy-centric thinking (combat operations, raids, etc) competed with population-centric approaches that included humanitarian and development aid, and governance support, all undertaken with the intention to win a war through “hearts and minds” (trust of the population) rather than violence.
The gendering of these approaches became visible as the participating intervening nations in Afghanistan and Iraq grew weary of slow progress in these operations and a complicated and demanding environment. An increasing rhetoric from a number of participating nations favoured a return to traditional, hyper-masculinist military practices – “killing people and destroying things” over a cosmopolitan, multi-dimensional, “feminized” approach that saw a larger role for non-kinetic (non-lethal) measures. The question is whether or not the implementation of gender perspectives within military institutions will suffer a setback as a result.