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Gender and Security By Gunhild Hoogensen, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Political Science University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway Research Associate, GECHS 16 March 2006


What is ’Human Security’? ! ! ! !

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Expanded notion of security Popularized in 1994 in the UNDP Human Development Report ’Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want’ Identified 7 broad categories of security: economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community, and political Individual, not state, is focus (ie: civil society!)


Traditional versus Human Security ! !

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HS too broad – makes the term ”security” meaningless Cannot identify all security needs of all individuals – need to restrict ’Security’ is different from everyday security – High politics, state-oriented, urgent action of extraordinary means (usually military)


Human Security – sugar and spice and all things nice? ! !

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Concept “human security” itself has been gendered it has become merely “motherhood and applepie” or “sentimental, feminine, utopian, and therefore incapable of transfer to the international arena for rigorous analysis” (Anon, 2002; McSweeney, 1999). This “feminization” of human security or a widened security concept is not meant to be complimentary. It means that human security does not measure up, and traditional security sets the standard.


Gender is central to security debate !

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Traditional security recognized for its gender dynamics by gender researchers. The dominance of traditional, state-based security thinking is a manifestation of masculinist, patriarchal structures, demanding that security only be defined from this position of privilege. Gender security research is only now starting to permeate the mainstream security discussions, but it is still the exception


Women or gender? ! !

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difference between “women” and “gender”. Gender understood as “women” generally means that one tries to include women in processes, get women’s ’input’, meet particularly women’s needs, and protect women. This is the usual way “gender” is introduced – particularly in policy (ie: UNSC resolution 1325, 2000); South Asia Partnership Canada (SAP Canada) report and activities on women and security (SAP Canada, 2005); UN in East Timor under UNTAET (United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor), particularly the Gender Affairs Unit.


Gender and power !

Understood in its broader form however, the concept of gender recognizes the use and practice of gender in everything we do and understand in society, open it up, dismantle it, use it in different ways, and illustrate its construction and deconstruction. The concept of gender speaks to relationships of power, exposing relationships of dominance and non-dominance where is normally not recognized.


The personal is political ! !

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Gender security studies takes as its referent the individual Gender studies has struggled with an initial desire to universalize security – in the case based on women’s in/security (western, middle class woman) Since then, given its referent, it is widely recognized that a universal notion of both gender and security is not possible – the definitions depend upon the context Gender additionally exposes ”positive” security – enabling/capacity building component to security that often goes unaddressed


Gender meets Human Security ! Gender

security perspectives have a great deal in common with human security – they speak to a broader notion of security, from the position of the individual or group, voicing the need for a wider security agenda ! Gender also speaks to ”societal security” (both included in human security as well as a security perspective in its own right)


Societal security !

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societal security is about “identity, the self-conception of communities, and those individuals who identify themselves as members of a particular community.” (Ole Wæver, 1995, 1998) complicates security, not only adding another ‘legitimate’ voice to the security dynamic, but one which is determined on the basis of diverse identities and can therefore reflect diverse security needs. Like human security, societal security is a non-state based approach to security – however both perspectives suffer from one (of many) problem – who decides what is secure or not?


A gender response !

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Gender security studies has evolved significantly over the past decade – from a dominant western, middle class view about women, to a multi-standpoint approach (multiple identities), recognizing that security for one, is not necessarily security for another Context and the recognition of power relations (dominance/non-dominance) make visible the in/securities that usually go unheard in a state-security based context Context and power relations inform human security, allowing previously unheard voices to be heard


A gender-informed approach to human security !

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human security is achieved when individuals and communities have the freedom to identify risks and threats to their well-being and the capacity to determine ways to end, mitigate or adapt to those risks and threats. Allows for identification of human in/security in a variety of contexts – from situations of domestic violence, to impacts of climate change, to largescale violence If the individual/community is in focus, there must be a recognition of their capacities to cope, resist and create security


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