Feminists have long called to transform gendered relationships of power from inequality to equality, from exploitation to justice, and from violence to peace. But what are masculinity and militarism? And how are they connected to violence and war?
Gender is a system of power. It organises relationships and power based on social roles. Masculine and feminine roles normalise men’s dominance over women by defining dominant characteristics with masculinity and identifying subordinate characteristics with femininity – such as strong and aggressive for masculinity and emotional or accommodating for feminity.
Masculine and feminine roles support social systems that reproduce gendered dominance among women and men through leadership roles, salaries, and other forms of power. The imbalance created by unequal gender roles is shaping other forms of social dominance around ethnicity, class, sexuality, and ability.
Peace and security work is intimately connected to systems of gendered power and ideas of masculinity and femininity. The importance of engaging men as partners has been recognised as a key element by the United Nations Security Council. Working on masculinities is going beyond ‘working with men’ – it is about changing patriarchal mindsets and addressing the need for structural and institutional change.
WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality, demilitarised security, and justice.
Women’s political, social and economic empowerment, gender equality and the enlistment of men and boys in the effort to combat all forms of violence against women are central to long-term efforts to prevent sexual violence in armed conflict and post-conflict situations. – UNSC Resolution 2106