Gender in Peacekeeping Operations: A Phenomenological Study of the Experiences of Ethiopian Female Peacekeepers in Abyei
This paper analyses the role of gender in peacekeeping operations through a review of women’s experiences in the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). This mission is dominated by Ethiopian peacekeepers and Ethiopia has also contributed the largest number of female peacekeepers (FPKs) to the mission since 2013. In spite of this, the proportion of female troops in UNISFA remains very low. We base our analysis on 15 in-depth field interviews, two focusgroup discussions, and direct observation done between 22 July 2015 and 2 August 2015. Traditional security studies have been criticised for being gender blind and state-centric.
Using the human security conception of security and standpoint feminism as a framework for analysis, this study reveals that efforts made for the full integration of women in peace operations by the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) have been thwarted by the persistence of negative stereotypes and the working conditions of FPKs in Abyei.