Almost 20 years after the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), it remains an important instrument in feminist lobbying and gender-sensitive peacekeeping. While the resolution is considered a major step towards protecting women’s rights in conflict zones and contributing to gender just peace, criticism is widespread and questions remain about its impact beyond statistics.
This report takes a closer look by investigating the ways that UNSCR 1325 has been conceptualized and put into practice in the South African National Defence Force. South Africa is deploying a relatively high proportion of female peacekeepers, but shortcomings of UNSCR 1325, specifically related to gender essentialisms, have affected discourses within the armed forces. While this has led to contradictions and contestations concerning sameness and difference among male and female peacekeepers, the study also reveals a critical engagement with military peacekeeper masculinities, pointing towards a surpassing of the limited premise of UNSCR 1325.