AbstractsWomens Studies

Gender neutrality vs. Gender equality

by Elin Lindsmyr

Institution: Linnæus University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Gender; Masculinity; Femininity; Military; Swedish Armed Forces; Power; Equality; Feminism; Social Sciences; Samhällsvetenskap; Peace and Development Programme, 180 credits; Freds- och utvecklingsprogrammet, 180 hp; Freds- och utvecklingsstudier; Peace and development
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2068170
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-54375


Armed forces has historically been, and is still today, an essential actor in peacekeeping. Armed forces provides peacekeeping missions with the aim to provide stability and security in war-torn areas. Despite the mission’s aim, sexual transgressions by soldiers have been reported. Victims of these transgressions have been both soldiers and locals from the areas where the soldiers were supposed to provide stability and security. As a consequence of these revelations, a debate arose concerning the suitability of using armed forces for peacekeeping missions. The debate has been dominated by feminist scholars, who questioned for whom security is provided, if it is provided by the armed forces. Feminist scholars have highlighted the traditional understanding of the armed forces as carriers of destructive masculinity norms. With a point of departure in this debate, this study seeks to examine and understand gendered norms within the Swedish Armed Forces with the aim to understand if the views of Swedish peacekeepers gender relations and equality is compatible with keeping peace. This study is conducted as a single case study, based on semi-structured interviews. The central findings of this research concern the Swedish Armed Forces’ views and strategy on gender equality and how the male and female soldiers perceive and have experienced gender relations and equality. Lastly this research identifies some challenges for the work with gender equality within the Swedish Armed Forces. The study concludes that the Swedish Armed Forces work towards gender equality through gender neutrality. Even if there has been major work put into the area of equality, there is still evidence of gender-based discrimination and views upon gender relations and equality which does not correlate with the organisations vision of an equal organisation.