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Focus areas

Our current focus areas

Flor Del Desierto via Unsplash
Flor Del Desierto via Unsplash

Gender and Extremism

This research stream focuses on gender and violent extremism with a specific focus on women’s roles in violent extremist groups. This stream also promotes women’s leadership, perspective and expertise within this field.

Using a gendered lens to examine violent extremism extends our understanding beyond the dichotomy of narratives that compare men to women, helping us to understand the broader political and socio-cultural context in which this phenomenon takes place. These include other important intersecting dynamics such as power, class, and race.

This research stream examines women’s diverse and complex roles in perpetrating violent extremism, thereby informing important ways that this can be prevented or addressed. Biased perceptions and the oversimplification of the role of women in extremist organisations are often misleading as they disregard women’s agency within these groups which can range from differing levels of victimhood, culpability and perpetration of violence. Highlighting women’s agency allows us to have a more thorough understanding of these groups and their tactics. This research stream also aims to shine a light on the work of women working within the broader field of countering violent extremism including academics, policy-makers, practitioners, local or international NGO’s, and volunteers.

Under this theme, WIIS-NL will publish policy papers, blogs, book reviews, podcasts and organise round tables and debates between September 2020-August 2021. s at a.v.a.peterscheck@fgga.leidenuniv.nl

Clay Banks via Unsplash
Clay Banks via Unsplash

Gender, Peace and Justice

Resolution 1325 and the women peace and security agenda are an integral part of WIIS-NL research and policy engagement work. This resolution stresses the importance of women’s meaningful participation in the maintenance of international peace and security. It reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response, and in post-conflict reconstruction. Resolution 1325 urges all actors to incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security initiatives.

The WIIS gender, peace and justice focus area covers issues related to international justice peacekeepers, peacebuilders and peacemakers and those engaged with transitional justice. The Netherlands is host to several international courts and tribunals, offering a great opportunity for WIIS to engage with practitioners and officials on matters relevant to their mandates, functioning and impact. Under this focus area, expert scholars, policymakers, practitioners, state representatives, and military and civil society actors will discuss topics of relevance to the implementation of the WPS agenda: the contribution of women to international justice and security; impediments to gender mainstreaming; policy interventions and practice innovations; and noteworthy contributions to the literature on this topic.

Under this theme, WIIS-NL will publish policy papers, blogs, book reviews, podcasts and organise round tables and debates between September 2020-August 2021. If you are interested in this topic and want to contribute either as author of a written piece or a speaker at an event, please get in touch with us at wiisnetherlands@wiisglobal.org

Kyle Glenn via Unsplash
Kyle Glenn via Unsplash

Women and diplomacy

Diplomacy has historically been a field dominated by men, both in practice and academia. This research stream focuses on women in diplomacy, specifically representation, women’s gendered experiences in diplomacy and “feminist” foreign policy.

Representation refers to “gender diplomacy” which concerns the representation of women in the field of foreign affairs. This research stream examines important questions such as whether greater representation of women leads to changes in diplomatic practices and greater equality between men and women and why women have chosen to work in the field of diplomacy and what can be done to ensure that more women are interested in the field.

Women’s Gendered Experiences in Diplomacy refers to female diplomats’ experiences in the field that will also be captured in this stream to shine a spotlight on women’s experiences as diplomats and the nature of the institutions in which they operate both domestically and internationally.

A Feminist Foreign Policy is a political framework positioned around the wellbeing of marginalised people that invokes processes of self-reflection regarding foreign policy’s hierarchical global systems. Studies on feminist foreign policy do not only look at the representation of women but rather the nature of foreign policies. Various countries such as Canada, Sweden, Finland and Norway have incorporated the WPS agenda into their foreign policies and have taken a leading role on this. However, while research is important in identifying the nature and successes of these policies in terms of advancing feminist ideals, it is also important to have a clear overview of how feminist ideas function in the policy environment.

Under this theme, WIIS-NL will publish policy papers, blogs, book reviews, podcasts and organise round tables and debates between September 2020-August 2021. If you are interested in this topic and want to contribute either as author of a written piece or a speaker at an event, please get in touch with us at fleur@debraaf.com

Karsten Würth via Unsplash

Gender and the Environment

This focus area examines the relationship between gender and the environment, and the intersection of sustainable development and international peace and security.

Our natural environment is not gender-neutral. Formal and informal rules and norms shape the way women and men interact with the natural resources. The traditional roles of women and girls as key providers of food, water and energy connect them more intimately with the environment, making them well-positioned to be key decision-makers for the management of natural resources.

Taking a global perspective, material in this research stream aims to highlight the contributions of women as agents of transformative change. It also addresses the challenges they encounter in the face of  environmental degradation, and how this impacts local, national and international security. Topics such as the relationship between peacebuilding initiatives and the environment, as well as the role of indigenous knowledge and women-led civil society organisations in natural resource management are also interrogated.

Under this theme, WIIS-NL will publish policy papers, blogs, book reviews, podcasts and organise round tables and debates between September 2020-August 2021. If you are interested in this topic and want to contribute either as author of a written piece or a speaker at an event, please get in touch with us at wiisnlblog@gmail.com.

We are currently developing our Dutch Caribbean strategy. More soon...

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