UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Making 'space' for women in Canadian peacekeeping : the battle of closing the gap Hassan, Maira


Women account for a small percentage of military peacekeepers. In the Canadian context, the lack of gender parity was a concern at the recent United Nations Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conferences, the most recent one taking place in Vancouver, Canada. This thesis examines the ‘space’ of peacekeeping, its evolution over the years, including a brief history of Canada’s involvement in military peacekeeping and women’s role in it. The research discusses the implications of highlighting benefits of having women in peacekeeping, the major systemic barriers for women in the Canadian Armed Forces and consequently in Canadian military peacekeeping. Using a feminist legal theory lens, the thesis analyzes the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and its national implementation in Canada. The thesis also remarks on key conceptual issues and possible contradictions in military peacekeeping, acknowledging the gendered ‘space’ of international law, peace and security. Although the study does not provide concrete suggestions for reform, it puts forth considerations for change, new ways of thinking and advocating for systemic transformations for gender equality. This research study uses mixed methods, drawing from existing literature, relevant documents received through the Access to Information Request (ATIR) procedure and through expert interviews. The 22 interview participants consisted of senior officials in the Canadian Armed Forces, policy experts, legal professionals and academics with relevant expertise in peacekeeping and the Canadian military. Thus, the study contributes original insights to the discussion of Canadian peacekeeping, attempting to pave a new way forward as Canada seeks to reestablish its identity as a leader in peacekeeping and international peace and security.

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