Louise Olsson

Senior Researcher

Louise Olsson
Email: louise@prio.org
Mobile phone: +47 413 65 305
Twitter: @LouiseKOlsson
CV: Download CV

Research Interests

Louise Olsson's research systematically examines gender equality aspects of armed conflict and its resolution, and it explores the normative developments related to gender mainstreaming and the UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. 

Current projects:

- Sweden in the UNSC. What can we learn about women, peace and security? (2019-2020. With Angela-Muvumba Sellström, Patty Chang, Torunn Tryggestad, and Peter Wallensteen, Uppsala University). There exists a substantial gap in our understanding of the strategies, working methods and goals of elected states in the United Nation’s Security Council (UNSC) and their potential impact on women, peace and security. This project studies Sweden’s period in the Security Council to identify key lessons that can be of particular use for other elected members. Funded by the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Folke Bernadotte Academy.

From Hopeful Agreements to Disillusioned Peace? The effects of peace agreement implementation on women’s security and empowerment (2018-2020. With Erika Forsberg and Karen Brouneus, Uppsala University). This project combines a global study tracking gender aspects in a set of peace processes, with in-depth analysis of Colombia, including both survey and focus group data. Funded by the Swedish Research Council.

- Should I stay or Should I go? (2020-2023. With Chiara Ruffa, Erik Melander, and Sara Lindberg-Bromley, Uppsala University). What determines if women choose to leave or to stay employed in a male-dominated organization? Addressing that question is key for being able to establish a more gender-equal workplace. Drawing on novel qualitative and quantitative material from the Swedish Armed Forces (SWAF), this interdisciplinary project therefore aims to advance our knowledge on what factors affect the retention of female personnel. Funded by the Swedish Research Council on Health, Working Life and Welfare.

- Women, peace and security in the defense of Sweden (2019-2020, Uppsala University). With the return to a focus on national defense, issues regarding the protection and resilience of the population are increasingly discussed. This, in turn, raises important questions about the role of gender equality and the norm on women, peace and security in a national context. Funded by the Swedish Armed Forces. 

Reducing Barriers for Uniformed Women in Military Operations (2020-2021. With Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) and Cornell University). The aim of the project is to “create evidence-based policy and programmatic recommendations to reduce barriers to uniformed women’s deployment” where PRIO contributes with a case-study of military contributions from Norway. Other countries contributing to this study is Bangladesh, Ghana, Jordan, Mongolia, Senegal, Uruguay, and Zambia. Funded by DCAF.


Olsson got her PhD from Uppsala University in 2007 with the thesis Equal Peace. United Nations Peace Operations and the Power-Relations between men and women in Timor-Leste (published by Brill 2009). She is the editor of several special issues of international research journals, the latest also being published in the book Gender, Peace and Security: Implementing UN Resolution 1325 (Routledge 2015). She is the author of several research publications, for example, "Gender inequality and internal conflict" in Oxford Research Encyclopedias of Politics (2016).

Prior to taking up her position at PRIO, Olsson was the Senior Advisor to the Director General at the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), Sweden. Before that, she served as the Head of the Women, Peace and Security Program at FBA between 2011-2015. A central part of her work at FBA was to create and lead a Research Working Group on Women, Peace and Security consisting of international scholars. The aim was to promote systematic empirical research of relevance for the implementation of the UN resolutions (2009-2018).

As a Senior Advisor, Olsson worked with strategic organizational development on inclusivity and gender mainstreaming, and with policy support. For example, Olsson has supported the work with the Swedish National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and has led evaluation teams analyzing how NATO's military operations and EU's civilian missions address the Women, Peace and Security agenda. 

Olsson has substantial pedagogical experience and has been involved in education and training for a broad range of audiences. For example, she has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels and has been the Director of Studies at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University.The work included responsibility for budget, personnel, and content of the teaching. For policy, she has been involved in developing a Gender Coach Program for the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is a training program for senior management. She collects some of those experiences in the paper Gender Training for Leaders (Georgetown University). She has also served as a coach in other Gender Coach Programs, both to the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces and to the Head of the Military Intelligence and Security Directorate. 

Olsson began her career in 1999 by contributing to the UN project Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Operations which held its final workshop in Windhoek in May 2000.

Former projects:

Inequality and insurgency in India: a disaggregated analysis of the link between gender inequality and armed conflict (2015-2018. With Erika Forsberg, Uppsala University. Funded by the Swedish Research Council.) By combining fieldwork with statistical analysis of new micro-level data on India’s 640 districts, this project seeks to improve our understanding of the mechanisms behind gender inequality and violent conflict.

Disciplining Fighters: Understanding Armed Political Actors’ Control of Sexual Violence (2016-2019. With Angela Muvumba-Sällström, Uppsala University. Funded by the Swedish Research Council). This project studies why and how diverse types of armed groups, with their varied agendas, motivations, institutions and gradations of sociality during wartime, create preventive cultures and pathways.

Equal Peace? Women’s Empowerment and Multicultural Challenges in War-to-Peace Transitions. Book project. (2018. With Inger Skjelsbæk and Torunn L. Tryggestad, PRIO.) As part of the subproject, International Conflict Mediation by the United Nations, a book will be composed which captures central experiences of using strategies for inclusivity and gender equality drawing on a combination of document analysis and interviews with senior peace mediators.

All Publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Olsson, Louise & Anna K. Jarstad (2012) Hybrid Peace Ownership in Afghanistan: International Perspectives of Who Owns What and When, Global Governance 18(1).
Olsson, Louise (2000) Mainstreaming Gender in Multidimensional Peacekeeping: A Field Perspective, International Peacekeeping 7(3).


Book Chapter

Olsson, Louise & Theodora-Ismene Gizelis (2019) The Production of the 2015 Global Study, in Davies, Sara; & Jacqui True, eds, Oxford University Press Handbook on Women, Peace and Security. Oxford: Oxford University Press (122–134).
Olsson, Louise (2018) Same Peace – Different Quality? The Importance of Security Equality for Quality Peace, in Madhav, Joshi; & Peter Wallensteen, eds, Understanding Quality Peace. Milton Park and New York: Routledge (44–58).
Olsson, Louise (2017) Fred och säkerhet ur ett jämställdhetsperspektiv [Peace and Security in an Equal Rights Perspective], in Aggestam, Karin; & Kristine Höglund, eds, Om krig och fred. En introduktion till freds- och konfliktstudier. Lund: Studentlitteratur (259–273).
Olsson, Louise & Erika Forsberg (2016) Gender inequality and internal conflict, in Oxford Research Encyclopedias of Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Olsson, Louise; Anita Schjølset & Frida Möller (2015) Women’s participation in international operations and missions, in Gizelis, Theodora-Ismene; & Louise Olsson, eds, Gender, Peace and Security: Implementing UN Resolution 1325. Milton Park and New York: Routledge.
Olsson, Louise & Anna K. Jarstad (2011) Local ownership of peace. Hobbes, Rousseau and international support for state-building in Afghanistan, in Fjelde, Hanne; & Kristine Höglund, eds, Building peace, creating conflict? Conflictual dimensions of local and international peace-building. Lund: Nordic Academic Press.
Olsson, Louise (2008) Peacekeeping, in Encyclopedia of Social Problems. London: Sage.
Olsson, Louise (2008) Resolution 1325 och den Nordiska Snabbinsatsstyrkan, in Anders W. Berggren, ed., Förutsättningar för att verka internationellt - Slutrapport från temaområde Människan i NBF 2004 - 2008. Stockholm: Försvarshögskolan.
Olsson, Louise (2005) The Namibian Peace Operation in a Gender Context, in Mazurana, Dyan; Angela Angela Raven-Roberts; & Jane Parpart, eds, Gender, Conflict, and Peacekeeping. Boulder & Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.

Edited Volume

Gizelis, Theodora-Ismene; & Louise Olsson, eds, (2015) Gender, Peace and Security: Implementing UN Resolution 1325. Milton Park and New York: Routledge.
Olsson, Louise; & Torunn L. Tryggestad, eds, (2001) Women and International Peacekeeping. London & Portland: Frank Cass Publishers. Cass Series on Peacekeeping.

PRIO Policy Brief

Kishi, Roudabeh & Louise Olsson (2019) How Does Political Violence Target Women? New Data from ACLED, GPS Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Gindele, Rebecca; Madhav Joshi; Louise Olsson; Jason Quinn; Elise Ditta & Rebecca Méndez (2018) Implementing the Final Colombian Peace Agreement, 2016–2018, GPS Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.

Report - Other

Olsson, Louise; Karen Hostens; Inger Skjelsbæk; & Elise Fredrikke Barth (2004) Gender Aspects of Conflict Interventions: Intended and Unintended Consequences, Report to Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Oslo.

Report - External Series

Möller-Loswick, Anna; Camilla Riesenfeld; & Louise Olsson (2019) Insights from the Inside: Women’s Mediation Networks as a Tool for Influencing Peace Processes, FBA Policy Briefs. Stockholm: Folke Bernadotte Academy.

Blog Posts

The COVID-19 Crisis Spotlights Criticality of Women’s Participation and UNSCR 1325: A Policy-Research Exchange

Posted by Njoki Kinyanjui & Louise Olsson on Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Women are often on the periphery of formal peace and political solutions with limited decision-making power. We argue that the current COVID-19 crisis has spotlighted three critical elements affecting women’s participation which need to be tackled in the upcoming 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325, the first UN Security Council Resolution ... Read more »

Feminism and Empiricism: Two Contributions to Improving Women’s Inclusion in Peace Processes

Posted by Louise Olsson & Theodora-Ismene Gizelis on Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Academics and policymakers can probably agree on the need for a more solid research base in order to effectively support the inclusion of women in peace processes. Our chapter in the newly released Oxford Handbook on Women, Peace and Security, argues that improving dialogue among scholars and practitioners requires acknowledging ... Read more »

Where are the Women in Peace Agreement Implementation?

Posted by Louise Olsson & Madhav Joshi on Monday, 29 October 2018

“In 2020, the United Nations, Members States, regional organizations and civil society will mark the 20th anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000). The lead up to this milestone and the anniversary itself, provide important opportunities to highlight and appraise progress and revise strategies…” (S/2018/900, 2018). An upcoming event which sets the ... Read more »

Nuclear Disarmament and The Nobel Peace Prize

Posted by Louise Olsson & Henrik Urdal on Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Since the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Linus Pauling in 1962, contributions to nuclear disarmament have recurrently been an explicit motivation for granting the Prize.1 According to the Nobel Peace Prize committee, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) received the Prize this year for creating new momentum ... Read more »

Alva Myrdal, Research, and Nuclear Disarmament

Posted by Louise Olsson on Monday, 2 October 2017

The time for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize is coming up, and as identified by PRIO’s Director, there are many worthy laureates. 35 years ago, Alva Myrdal (1902-1986) received the prize for her work with nuclear disarmament – a question that has unfortunately resurfaced and is again a likely theme for the peace ... Read more »

Related pages