Equal Peace : United Nations Peace Operations and the Power-Relations between men and women in Timor-Leste

University dissertation from Uppsala : Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning

Abstract: This dissertation expands the inquiry of United Nations peace operations to incorporate their effects on gender power-relations of the host state. To achieve this, a mainstream-based analytical framework, additionally informed by suggestions from feminist research, was formulated and applied to the case of Timor-Leste. In so doing, the study makes two contributions. Firstly, it enhances our ability to trace changes in the power balance between men and women by developing the concept of gender power-relations, especially introducing ‘security equality’ (the distribution of protection between men and women). Secondly, the project systematically explores effects of peace operations on these power-relations in the host state. In the case of Timor-Leste, the study found that gender power-relations became more equal during the UN operation 1999-2002. The most substantial reason behind this change was that the degree of awareness of gender specificity (knowledge of the difference in situation between men and women) increased in the operation leadership. This improved level of awareness had been generated by Timorese women’s groups working together with the operation’s Gender Unit. The end result was an increase in Timorese women’s participation in politics and improved protection from domestic violence. Taken together, the analytical framework and the empirical application inform research on peace operations by providing specific guidelines for theory building.

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