Making War for Women? An Analysis of UN Resolution 1325 and the Gendering of International Intervention

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Virginia Tech

This thesis explores how UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security and its ensuing National Action Plans for gender equality inform justifications of international intervention. I ask the following questions: how does Resolution 1325 and its ensuing National Action Plans for gender equality construct subjectivities of gender? How have states appropriated these gendered subjectivities in the legitimation of conflict? I review feminist, postcolonial, and poststructuralist literatures to argue that Resolution 1325 is aligned with broader United Nations governmental strategies for framing and justifying international intervention. Resolution 1325 produces dualistic subjectivities of gender, where women are constructed either as victims or as empowered, albeit within the limits deemed acceptable in masculinized contexts. I analyze the case of German National Action Plans for gender equality and the official policy texts related to its intervention in Afghanistan. I demonstrate that the foreign policy of a seemingly progressive state embraces Resolution 1325's dualistic subjectifications of women in conflict to construct logics that legitimize the Afghan intervention. My study findings show that Germany discursively constructs women and gender equality in accordance with the UN's guidelines and its good governance framework, which do not challenge existing structures of masculinity. In addition, they function as a means through which Germany legitimizes neoliberal and neocolonial policies as acceptable, ultimately failing to challenge the international war system.

Gender, international intervention, United Nations, Resolution 1325, discursive analysis.