Women and War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century

Edited Volume

Hernes, Helga; Kathleen Kuehnast; & Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, eds, (2011) Women and War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace.


For most of the 20th century, the study and practice of war and international relations focused on the security of states. The changing nature of conflict has led analysts toward an expanded concept of human security that focuses not only on the state but also the security concerns of the individual, including women.

Ten years ago, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325, which called for women’s equal participation in promoting peace and security and for greater efforts to protect women, who are more exposed to violence during and after conflict than men. The volume takes stock of the current state of knowledge on women, peace and security issues, including efforts to increase women’s participation in post-conflict reconstruction strategies and their protection from wartime sexual violence. The authors also highlight the resolution’s potential to advance the rights of women in a wide variety of spheres by including analysis of legal, economic, and policy implications. .

Although gender-based analysis of conflict often remains outside the mainstream of security dialogues. This volume underscores that much remains to be done at both a conceptual and operational level to develop effective conflict prevention and management strategies that are inclusive of women. The authors take a forward-looking approach, emphasizing that setting a well-grounded research agenda is the first step toward realizing the resolution’s dual goals of power and protection.