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Silences and Silos: NATO's implementation of UNSCR 1325

Katharine A. M. Wright

No 5cyng, Thesis Commons from Center for Open Science

Abstract: The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is the preeminent international security institution spanning Europe and North America. This means that NATO’s engagement with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) is of particular salience to examine. NATO’s role as a ‘teaching machine’ sharing lessons on gender and UNSCR 1325, means the organisation represents a key site for the transfer of learning on the value of the WPS agenda. Despite this, and the wide range of literature examining the implementation of UNSCR 1325, NATO’s implementation of the women, peace and security agenda remains under examined. This thesis contributes a feminist approach to theorising international security institutions, drawing upon an institutional approach to understand how NATO’s gendered organisational structure has contributed to shaping a particular understanding of UNSCR 1325. Notably, the WPS agenda has mapped onto NATO’s long existing concern with the status of women in the military, and UNSCR 1325 has come to be supported, in the military structure, by the existing gender machinery established to support this agenda. The thesis identifies the key actors and drivers involved in NATO’s adoption and implementation of UNSCR 1325. In particular, the central role of partner states has contributed to the framing of the WPS agenda as external to the Alliance, or within a silo, both practically and symbolically. This supports the argument that member and partner states have come to learn the value of UNSCR 1325 as a diplomatic tool and a means of providing influence incommensurate with status. It also challenges notions that NATO is an organisation whose agenda is dictated (solely) by the US. In addition to identifying femocrats operating within NATO, the thesis draws attention to the importance of leadership for driving the agenda, most significantly through the appointment of the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative on Women, Peace and Security in 2012. The thesis exposes the ‘added value’ of UNSCR 1325 not only for member states, but for NATO. This finds the Resolution valued as a tool to increase operational effectiveness, in part because its adoption was shaped by NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan. NATO’s implementation of UNSCR 1325 has also been utilised by as a public diplomacy tool by NATO, for example, utilising stories of Afghan military women as a ‘good news story’ about NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan.

Date: 2016-10-31
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DOI: 10.31219/

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