With 13.9 million individuals displaced by conflict and persecution in 2014 alone, conflict and violence are at the heart of many forced migrants’ experiences. Both men and women are affected by – and participate in – violence. However, studies of forced migration tend to position women, and their children, as victims of violence and conflict, while men are only present implicitly in descriptions of gendered violence against women. Such ‘corrective’ descriptions of the experiences of forced migrants serve to position women as inherently vulnerable victims of conflict, while men are the silent perpetrators of violence.
The recommendation made by the UN to increase the number of female peacekeepers challenges gender norms in a superficial way by providing a channel for the agency of women within a patriarchal framework. Upon closer examination, the assumptions such a recommendation rests upon uphold gender norms in problematic ways that must be addressed. It keeps them pigeon-holed as natural pacifists who are more inclined than men to establish and maintain peace.
What, if anything, did the 2008 global financial crisis tell us about the contradictions of capitalism?