Women and Politics Society- Monthly Theme: Women and Security

Chloe: 

“For this month’s theme on women’s security, I would like to highlight the transformative potential of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. The agenda, implemented in 2000 when the UNSC unanimously adopted Resolution 1325, addresses how women and girls are disproportionately impacted by violent conflict in war and recognises the critical role that women play in peace-building efforts, calling for their participation and inclusion in peace-building and decision-making processes at the local, national, and international levels. Even though progress for the implementation of the Agenda has been slow, it is an important starting point for the greater advocacy for women’s involvement in conflict resolution, which actually correlates with greater sustainable peace. Looking forward, nations should work towards greater institutionalisation of the WPS, in order to go even further than the abstraction of inclusion and protection.”

Julia: 

“When talking about security, the focus is often put on the duration of military conflicts rather than what happens in their aftermath – which I think is particularly important. Post-conflict recovery and reconciliation pose a unique chance for transformation; after all, we cannot talk about a “transition” or “peace” if the underlying structures of gender oppression, violence and marginalisation remain unchanged. While there is an increasing pressure to include women in these processes, it is usually done in an “add and stir” manner, without a careful consideration of gendered dynamics. “Gender” does not equal “women” and a reductionist understanding of these structures reproduces harmful binaries that reinforce patriarchal oppression in a post-conflict society. We really hope to shed light on these crucial aspects with our activities, events and publications this term.”

Maisie: 

“I think it’s important to ensure that women are valued in security studies and given agency – often in security we associate it with masculinity and create a trope of women as passive beings. I think it’s also important to look at the gender dynamics in security and how women of all backgrounds are valued and how they participate.”

Chiara: 

“Women and security is a vast field which stretches from behind closed doors, all the way to armed conflicts. Although the dynamics change and gendered violence as a weapon of war amplifies its damages, it is important to keep in mind that the root causes are the same ones. For this reason it is equally important to discuss and bring light on violence on women at the domestic/ everyday life level as well as during war. Women and security is therefore a topic that regards – to different extents – all of us.  It is imperative to delineate its root causes and to look for preventive measures in order to make women feel safe in all sorts of situations.”

Carmen: 

“Going to nightclubs by itself can be seen as a threat to woman security as she is automatically liable to being spiked, even by injectables, in order to make rape or sexual assault easier. Events such as a night out at clubs can be seen as a threat to woman’s security and the list of reasons is growing. While most people are aware that there are dangers and risks associated with leaving drinks unwatched as you are liable to drink-spiking, there has been a new emergence in frightening reports of a different method that renders women unconscious; namely, the he injections of certain drugs like Rohypnol or “the date rape drugs”.  Even a night out causes anxiety among women by a threat to their security as they are liable to “Date Rape Drugs” even by injections.”

Lucy: 

“Feeling safe in public, at any time of the day, should be accepted as a basic right. Sadly, across much of the UK, security when walking alone is mostly only reserved and felt by our male counterparts. 2021 revealed the embarrassing reality of Women’s security in modern day Britain. The case of Sarah Everard, subsequent police violence on attendees of Sarah’s vigil, and the spiking epidemic across UK universities is only a taste of the risks posed to women daily. Recognising when and where women’s security is being violated, calling it out, and advocating action against these violations is key to ensuring equality in public safety. This term’s theme surrounding Women’s Security will aim to call out and tackle these issues and hopefully provide some valuable insights to help female students.”

Elaine:

“When thinking about the topic of women and security, one might be reminded of how women are treated under the oppressive Taliban rule and the stripping of their rights, or the brutal femicide in Honduras evidenced by shocking statistics, where around 53 women were killed monthly in 2013. Though the issues surrounding women’s security in these broader contexts are undoubtedly crucial, it should also be noted that domestic violence and individual cases of gendered violence pose serious threats as well, such as the murder of Sarah Everard and widespread cases of domestic abuse- a study conducted in 2018 showed that around 1 in 3 women has been subjected to physical/sexual violence by a partner. By taking on this topic as our monthly theme, our society hopes to shed light on the pertinent concerns surrounding women’s security, through our events and starting important conversations.” 

Hannah:

“During my time as a War Studies student, I realized that gender was too often excluded as a prism of analysis in security studies.  As explained by Cynthia Enloe (whom the W&P society hosted for a panel discussion in December 2021), if the politics of femininities and masculinities are not taken into account in the study of security, its stakes cannot be fully understood. With this month’s theme, W&P hopes to raise awareness on the relevance of gender studies, particularly in security, to the academic community.”

Arushi:

This month we, as a society, want to encourage discussions and thoughts on the many implications’ ‘security’ has for women. Whether it’s feeling safe in your own home, to feeling protected by your government, to having your rights upheld by institutions around you. There are too many ways security agendas are falling short of creating policies through a gendered lens.

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