Security and gender unfolds some critical debatable relations. According to Oxford dictionary, the term gender “has been used since 14th century as a grammatical term, referring to classes of noun designated as masculine, feminine, or neuter in some languages, the sense denoting biological sex has also been used since the 14th century, but this did not become common until the mid-20th century”. In a contemporary world, Williams (2013, p.6) grounds the concept of security as it is “most commonly associated with the alleviation of threats to cherished values; especially those which, left unchecked, threaten the survival of particular referent object in the near future”.
On the same note, Bellamy (1981, p. 102) cited in Collins (2016, p.3) further propagates security as “a relative freedom from war, coupled with a relative high expectation that defeat will not be a consequence of any war that should occur”. According to Oxford Dictionary, the “words gender and sex are often used interchangeably, they have slightly different connotations; sex tends to refer to biological differences, while gender more often refers to cultural and social differences and sometimes encompasses a broader range of identities than the binary of being male and female”. On the other outlook, this essay seeks to cultivate the ground base relationship between security and gender.
To begin with, let us benchmark ourselves on societal security, in the views of Collins (2016, p.217) cultivate societal security as a situation “where the state can be destabilized through threats to its language, culture, religion, and other customs”. Societal security due to cultural beliefs poses threats to the advancement of gender as in this case, women are lagging behind due to their biological make up than men.
In security related issues women are regarded as inferior as they cannot be employed, hold strong positions, reliable as well as they cannot be security officers which delinks the relationship in as far as security and gender is concerned. On the other hand, if we are to bedrock ourselves to the relationship between security and gender, according to United Nations Security council Resolution Number 1325 (2000, p.16) amalgamates security and gender in the sense that, “women and girls provide non-military support for the warfare as they directly support combatants through cooking and cleaning for soldiers, acting as porters and messengers, perform other tasks required by militaries”.
In so doing, this enhances the relationship.According to Persaud (2012, p.14) if we are to unpack military security, he argues that the relation between security and gender is not that of outreach and touch, in the sense that “women are vulnerable to crime because of their gender. Criminals and offenders consider them to be easier target due to their physiology, often times, they do not have capabilities to fight back, escape or to overpower the threatening element, which increases the probability of crimes against women”, which makes tough for them to participate in security related issues.
Despite some notable activists on gender and different platforms, for example, Beijing Platform for action, Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, just to mention but a few, have broaden the relationship, however, the relationship between security and gender is less essence due to some cultural beliefs. In the views of Reeves & Baden (2000, p.6) depicts culture as a “distinctive patterns of ideas, beliefs, and norms which characterize the way of life and relations of society or group within a society”.
On a negative note, it has been argued that, due to different cultural beliefs many people perceive that women cannot participate in security related issues which leads to a bumpy relation in as far as security and gender is concerned. On the other side, culture is perceived wrongly as it determines “gender ideologies, defines rights and responsibilities, what is appropriate behavior for men and women, as it also influences access to and control over resources as well as participation in decision-making”.On the other benchmark, Peoples & Williams (2010, p.34) propagates Global gender inequalities.
An afro- barometer conducted “in 2000 by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs published a report, entitled the Worlds Women 2000: Trends and Statistics, which illustrates the extent of gender inequality between Men and Women in global politics. Despite outnumbering Men in most regions (with exception of some parts of Asia), women comprise only one-third of the global work force. While this actually represents an historic high, Women’s earnings remain on average only between 50 and 80 percent of Men’s. Women are more likely to work in roles with little or no authority. They also experience more and longer-periods of unemployment.
For this reason it has been argued that poverty has a Woman’s face: of 1.3 billion people living in poverty, 70 percent are women.Alongside Columba Peoples ; Williams (2000, p.35) in a positive note, propagates that, “in 1979 the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (the Women’s Convention). This Convention aimed to shape national policies in order to guarantee equality between men and women, especially in terms of access to education, employment rights, and marriage”, which has enhanced equal participation of both gender in security related issues.Finally, according to Hendricks (2011, p.
13) on the issue of human security, he argues that, women are regarded as targets, “scholarly research and reports showing the extent to which women are targeted during conflicts, the reasons for their victimization and the impact that violent conflicts has on the livelihoods, health and dignity of women, is abundant. This enhances the need for women’s inclusion in mediation missions and peace negotiations so that their experiences and needs can be factored into post-conflicts reconstruction agendas”. On the other contrary view of Hudson (2006, p.5) grounds that, “numerous inscription on the topic continue to address women as peaceful and illustrate how women draw on their feminine roles to get men to lay down arms. They call for women to be included and their ability to reflect the unique and or differentiated interest of women”. On the other hand, Hudson further echoes that, according to the critics, the discourse of women and peace building “is enshrined within a neo-liberal managerial or problem-solving approach which is a state-centric and follows a relatively narrow approach to security”.
However, Hendricks (2011, p.21) further lament that, “women working in male dominated field of security tend to feel that they must prove something, keep up, feel included and be respected. Biologically and physiologically, they are perceived as weak and in need of protection. Women may also face other factors such as pregnancy, breastfeeding and levels of physical abilities which may lead to discrimination”.