October 2010 marked the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UN Resolution 1325). The unanimous passage of UN Resolution 1325 recognized, for the first time in the history of the Security Council, the link between gender equality, peace, and security. The 10th anniversary of this landmark resolution heralds a move toward implementing UN Resolution 1325 in peace and security operations to improve operational effectiveness. Today, gender equality is recognized as a force multiplier in operational planning and execution strategies.
Yet when military planners and policy makers credit what has increased effectiveness in peacekeeping and security operations, they rarely, if ever, mention gender equality. Nevertheless, recent efforts made by UN peacekeeping missions and NATO to implement UN Resolution 1325, show that security actors are more successful when they take into account the different needs, status, and experience of men and women in the local population, and when peace and security missions include women in executing operations and decisionmaking.
A growing body of evidence from the field reveals that the inclusion of women enhances operational effectiveness in three key ways: improved information gathering, enhanced credibility, and better force protection. Empirical evidence underscores the fact that attention to the different needs, interests, and experiences of men and women can enhance the success of a variety of security tasks, to the benefit of both civilians and soldiers.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325
UN Resolution 1325 is an internationally recognized legal framework for promoting gender equality and addressing issues affecting women's peace and security at the local, regional, and international levels. UN Resolution 1325 is groundbreaking for several reasons. In the words of former UN Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury: (1)
The Security Council expressed for the first time in its history of
55 years its conceptual acceptance that peace is inextricably
linked with equality between women and men and affirmed the equal
access and full participation of women in power structures and
their full involvement in all efforts for peace and security....
UN Resolution 1325 encompasses a range of complex issues such as judicial and legal reform, security sector reform, peace negotiations, peacekeeping, political participation, and protection from and response to sexual violence in armed conflict. The resolution champions the principle of gender equality above all, and urges the international community to move from aspiration to concrete actions on the ground. Skeptics may argue that UN Resolution 1325 was passed under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, not Chapter VII which invokes coercive enforcement and penalties for noncompliance and therefore UN Resolution 1325 is merely diplomatic window dressing. (3) Supporters of UN Resolution 1325 point out that the unanimously passed Security Council resolution and its implementation is bolstered by Article 25 of the UN Charter which states, "Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with its present Charter." (4)
Though slow to act, member states now have or are developing national action plans to implement UN Resolution 1325. Both NATO and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations are implementing new mandates on UN Resolution 1325. In 2006, the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) issued its policy directive, "Gender Equality in Peacekeeping Operations." (5) In 2007, NATO adopted a Euro-Atlantic Partnership Counsel (EAPC) policy, tasking member states to develop practical proposals for the implementation of the resolution. In September 2009, NATO approved the Bi-Strategic Command Directive 40-1 Integrating UNSCR 1325 and Gender Perspectives in the NATO Command Structures Including Measures for Protection During Armed Conflict. …