Stéfanie von Hlatky

May 1, 2023

Deploying Feminism

The Role of Gender in NATO Military Operations

Oxford University Press 2022

In 1995, the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing launched the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda. Successive UN Security Council resolutions highlighted the need to include more women in peace processes, the perpetration of gender-based violence during war, the underrepresentation of women as peacekeepers, and the need for greater diversity at all levels of governance to respond to international security challenges. These norms seemed clear, feminist, and ambitious. 

Dr. Stéfanie von Hlatky’s new book, Deploying Feminism: The Role of Gender in NATO Military Operations (Oxford UP, 2022), argues that these WPS norms were distorted during the implementation process. NATO, a predominantly male organizations experimented with gender mainstreaming but instead of serving general equality goals, the Women, Peace, and Security norms served operational effectiveness. Women on the battlefield in Afghanistan and Iraq were seen as a military asset – because they were able to interact with local women and children or more effectively get information from male inhabitants. The ambitious Women, Peace, and Security global norms ultimately left military culture untouched.

Deploying Feminism provides a detailed account of the changes made within the NATO military due to WPS norms. Using comparative case studies, interviews, and feminist I.R. scholarship, Dr. von Hlatky examines why norm distortion occurs and how the military carries it out. She recommends ways that the military might implement gender norms without distortion. distorting it.

Dr. Stéfanie von Hlatky is an Associate professor of political studies and Canada Research Chair on Gender, Security, and the Armed Forces at Queen’s University. She is also fellow at the Centre for International and Defence Policy (CIDP). She is the author of American Allies in Times of War: The Great Asymmetry (Oxford University Press, 2013) and co-editor of Going to War?: Trends in Military Interventions (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2016).

Daniella Campos served as the editorial assistant for this podcast.

Susan Liebell is Dirk Warren '50 Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

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