Monash awarded grant to increase participation of women in UN peace operations by supporting personnel with caring responsibilities

Monash University

Monash University’s Gender, Peace and Security Centre (GPS) has been awarded a grant of $637,874 by Global Affairs Canada, as part of the ground-breaking Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations.

The grant will enable the Centre to conduct a three year research project identifying the causes and consequences of marginalising uniformed personnel with caring responsibilities from military and police organisations in troop- and police-contributing countries (T/PCCs) and United Nations (UN) peace operations.

The project is the first of its kind to identify the causes and consequences of marginalising women with caring responsibilities from T/PCC military and police organisations and UN peace operations.

The project’s lead, Dr Eleanor Gordon, Deputy Director of Monash GPS, said the research aims to identify and help address barriers to the engagement, advancement and deployment of personnel with caring responsibilities.

“Marginalising women with caring responsibilities from security institutions and UN peace operations adversely impacts organisational and operational effectiveness by narrowing the diversity of deployed military and police personnel. This ultimately compromises efforts to advance gender equality within and through peace operations, adversely impacting efforts to build sustainable peace,” Dr Gordon said.

“This impacts how security and peace are conceptualised, whose security is prioritised, and the type of peace that is built. Where security institutions and peace operations are less inclusive and less diverse, their operations are less likely to be responsive to a diversity of needs and less able to enjoy broad-based public confidence and trust.”

The project builds upon global, multi-year research projects conducted by the project team on the marginalization of peacebuilding practitioners with caring responsibilities (Universities of Monash and Warwick, 2017-2021) and the work of military Gender Advisors (GENADs) to advance the WPS agenda (Government of Australia, Department of Defence, 2020-2022).

Research will cover seven field sites: three T/PCCs (India, UK and Indonesia), UN HQ and three UN peace operations (UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS)).

The project is led by Dr Eleanor Gordon, Deputy Director of Monash GPS, and includes other members of Monash GPS, including its Director, Professor Katrina Lee-Koo, Dr Samanthi Gunawardana, Dr Richard Fosu and Lauren Lowe, as well as Jane Townsley, the Executive Director of the International Association of Women Police (IAWP) and Joana Osei-Tutu, Head of the Women, Peace and Security Institute at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).

/Public Release.