This paper is about the experiences of Gender Advisors in NATO and partner militaries, and the question of whether militaries can contribute to a feminist vision of peace and security. Gender Advisors are increasingly being adopted as a mechanism to help militaries to implement commitments under the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Based on semi-structured interviews and a workshop with individuals working as Military Gender Advisors from 2009 to 2016 in Afghanistan, Kosovo and in NATO and national military commands and headquarters, this paper explores their own perceptions of their work, its goals, shortcomings and achievements. It highlights Military Gender Advisors’ strong commitment to Women, Peace and Security aims, but the resistance their work faces within their institutions, and challenges of inadequate resourcing, preparation and contextual knowledge. Military Gender Advisors’ experiences paint a picture of NATO and partner Militaries having in some places made progress in protection and empowerment of local women, but fragile and partial. These findings speak to wider debates within feminist security studies around whether and how militaries achieve human security in peacekeeping operations, and the risks of militarisation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
- feminist security studies