Unscr 1325 and Canadian Military Culture in Transition: Gender Integration or New Roles for Women?

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Karen DAVIS, Department of National Defence, Canada
Angela FEBBRARO, Department of National Defence, Canada
Krystal HACHEY, Department of National Defence, Canada
In recent decades, the Canadian military has transitioned to satisfy human rights and national security agendas, and despite significant disruption to masculine military culture, the integration of women into all environments and roles has made a significant contribution. Today, women in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) serve as combatants, and in operational leadership, command, and critical support roles. As a result, the CAF has considered itself to be “fully gender integrated” for over two decades. However, Canada’s response to the United Nations Security Council Resolution, and subsequent Women, Peace and Security resolutions (UNSCR 1325+), challenges assumptions regarding gender integration. Efforts to increase the participation of women in peacekeeping operations, and to integrate gender mainstreaming and gender perspectives, represents potential for further disruption to military culture, as it demands that women and men include gender considerations in the repertoire of knowledge, skills and competencies that they apply to operational planning, decision-making and operational activity. What are the characteristics of a military culture with the capacity to effectively integrate gender perspectives into operations? How will we know when the military has achieved those objectives? Furthermore, what are the implications of a strategy that has the potential to isolate women in gender segregated roles in volatile security environments? Based on a preliminary analysis of CAF initiatives and stakeholder analysis, as well as lessons learned from an international Gender, Peace and Security Workshop, this paper presents a research proposal to inform research questions and to evaluate CAF capacity to integrate gender perspectives into operations. Reflections will be offered on how the cultural character of military forces, in some instances, have transitioned to more inclusively address UNSCR 1325+, including efforts to eliminate sexual violence, and on the role of today’s military leaders in facilitating an inclusive culture and the operational effectiveness of mixed gender teams.