Gender, Conflict and Peace: How Should Women Lead in Peacekeeping and Post-Conflict Operations?

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In celebration of International Women’s Day, RUSI’s Under 35s Forum a panel discussion on the role of women in peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction

Gender-based violence is commonplace during conflict. It is therefore vital that gender perspectives are fully integrated into the thinking and strategies of militaries and other major international actors.

The roles and experiences of men and women in conflict are very different, and awareness of this divergence and how it impacts communities can be an indispensible aspect of peacekeeping operations and post-conflict reconstruction.

The traditional dimensions of defence and security operations continue to broaden, and gender issues are at the forefront of this transformation. Yet, whilst actors such as the United Nations, the Department for International Development and others have raised awareness of women’s roles in peace and security, the implementation of gender perspectives and the recruitment of women as peacekeepers remains unsatisfactory.

This event will consider the impact of gender issues on peacekeeping and peacemaking, and the role of the state in recruiting and deploying women in peacekeeping roles.

Major General Kristin Lund, Force Commander of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus offered the opening remarks. Other esteemed panellists included:

  • Mike Redmond, Former Director Information Operations – HQ ISAF
  • Adrian Johnson, Research Fellow, UN peace operations, RUSI
  • Dr Punam Yadav, Visiting Fellow, Centre for Women, Peace and Security, LSE
  • Emily Winterbotham, Research Fellow, RUSI

Speaker bio

Major General Kristin Lund is the first woman ever to command a United Nations peacekeeping operation. She has had a distinguished military career, with more than 34 years of military command and staff experience at the national and international levels.  As a brigadier general, she served as Deputy Commander of the Norwegian Army Forces Command from 2007 to 2009.  In 2009, she became the first female officer promoted to the rank of major general, and was appointed Chief of Staff of the Norwegian Home Guard.  In 2014, she was appointed to the Norwegian Defence Staff as head of Veteran Affairs. Her previous experience with the United Nations includes service with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the United Nations Protection Force.  Major General Lund has extensive experience in multinational operations, including deployment to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s International Security Assistance Force Headquarters in Afghanistan. Major General Lund graduated from the Norwegian Defence Command and Staff College, the Norwegian Defence University College and the United States Army War College, where she earned a Master of Strategic Studies degree.


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