GI425      Half Unit
Women, Peace and Security

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Marsha Henry GI and Prof Christine Chinkin WPS


This course is available on the MSc in Conflict Studies, MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities, MSc in Human Rights, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in International Relations and MSc in Media, Communication and Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course provides a critical examination of peace and security issues affecting women in a global world.  In particular, the course is influenced by the focus of the UN Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda from UNSCR 1325, 2000 onwards, which aims to prevent sexual and gender-based violence in conflict and post-conflict settings, through making visible the experiences of women who have often been obscured from political focus and denied legal or other redress.  Consequently, the agenda sets out to increase the participation of women within both the processes of peace and reconstruction and in the security sector more generally.  This course will examine these issues from a gender and feminist lens.

The topics include: 

1) The Context of Women, Peace and Security;

2) Definitions And Scope: Gender-Based And Sexual Violence In Conflict; (against whom? Where does it get committed? What forms of violence are sexual? The difference between sexual violence and gender-based violence; causes and in particular continuum of violence from ‘peacetime’ to conflict).

3) The History Of WPS Laws And Policies: From 1325 To The Prevention Of Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI); Issues raised by WPS resolutions: gender balance and gender mainstreaming; participation (agency); protection, training and vetting military, institutional reforms; accountability.

4) Academic and Practitioner Critiques and Responses to WPS Agenda;

5) Impunity for GBV and SGBV in Conflict: Social and Legal Issues;

6) Accountability; (obstacles to accountability; state and individual responsibility; relevant violations of international law; appropriate legal and non-legal fora; reparations and sanctions).

7) International Intervention: Exacerbation or Dissolution; (issues of prevention, peacebuilding and representation)

8) Protection and Enforcement;  Engendering Institutional Change:  training and security sector reform at state and international levels;

9) Practical Case Studies (Guest Lecture)

10) Humanitarianism: Role of Civil Society and Philanthropy (Guest Lecture)


15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Students will have a reading week in Week 6 in line with departmental policy. 

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.

Indicative reading

Readings will be assigned from academic publications and primary materials, for instance, UN documents relating to the adoption of the WPS Security Council resolutions and SC debates on the subject; reports of expert bodies such as the Secretary-General’s  Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict; jurisprudence from the International Criminal Courts.

Key readings

Buss, D., Lebert, J., Rutherford, B., Sharkey, D., & Aginam, O. (Eds.). (2014). Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies: International Agendas and African Contexts. Routledge.

Chinkin C.  &  Kaldor M. ‘Gender and New Wars’, 67(1). Journal of International Affairs, (2013) 167.-187.

Cohn, C., Kinsella, H., & Gibbings, S. (2004). Women, Peace and Security Resolution 1325. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 6(1), 130-140.

Cohn, Carol Women and Wars (2013) (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013)

Henry, M. (2007). Gender, security and development. Conflict, Security & Development, 7(1), 61-84.

Otto, Dianne and Heathcote Gina (eds) (2014): Rethinking Peacekeeping, Gender Equality and Collective Security: An Introduction.


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the ST.

Summative assessment to be submitted in the first week of ST.

Key facts

Department: Gender Institute

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills