Volume 48, Number 1, Winter 2017
Quand la sécurité se conjugue au féminin
When International Security Becomes Female
Cuando la seguridad internacional se conjuga en femenino
Guest-edited by Stéphanie von Hlatky
Marie Deschamps released her External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces in 2015. Its effect was that military authorities at last acknowledged the existence of a sexualized culture conducive to sexual harassment and assault in the military as well as the need for long-term cultural change. In addressing sexual violence the Canadian Armed Forces elected to go with an operational approach (Operation honour). The organization has since established “strength through diversity” as its platform for dealing with internal gender dynamics. The article looks at how the military’s current approach to gender issues compares with its predecessors.
The Canadian government applied a whole-of-government approach to its role in the Afghanistan mission with the Provincial Reconstruction Team (prt) in Kandahar. Institutional resistance was a foreseeable risk on the mission, given the diversity of organizations called on to work together there. The author looks into the reasons that organizational tensions emerged in the prt and how those tensions affected the dynamics of interdepartmental cooperation. She examines those sensitivities in light of the literature of organization theory and integrates a feminist perspective to characterize the phenomenon of organizational subordination. The results shed new light on the study of civil–military cooperation and yield policy lessons for optimizing Canada’s international interventions.
Beginning with the deployment of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti in 2004, Canada has presented itself as a key partner for Haiti’s security sector reform. Canada’s intervention has been significant and has certainly contributed to the progress made to this point, notably in the case of Canada’s involvement with the Haitian National Police Reform Plan. Canadian efforts have nonetheless been hampered by the overemphasis on the technical aspects of police reform, the absence of a clear intervention strategy, the 2010 reconfiguration of Canada’s international aid priorities, and uncertainty about the United Nations’ future presence in Haiti. Canada needs a new strategy for Haiti if it is to consolidate progress and avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.
This article explores the gendered aspect of disciplinary and professional specialization in International Relations and the means through which perceptions of competency and knowledge are reproduced. It is based on a discourse analysis of statements by participants in the 2015 Canadian workshop of Women in International Security (Wiis-Canada) as well as my own experience as organizer of that event. One key topic dealt with by participants was the issue of professional voice – who acquires it, how is it fostered or hampered, and what happens when it’s silenced ? As junior scholars attempt to reconcile their academic approaches with their nascent academic identities, a professional transition occurs. Without an inclusive dialogue about our research models and critical methods, any ontological or epistemological inroads made at events like the Wiis-Canada workshop may well prove shallow.
My research examined transparency measures in Gabon and Ghana’s oil and gas industry and involved three months of field work in each country. Being a woman had an effect on my work in the field, but the fact that I am young, a researcher, black, African, and based in Canada also influenced respondents’ attitudes towards me and the responses they offered. Reactions to my being an African based in the West were especially contradictory – ranging from friendly to suspicious – which complicated my interactions with respondents. For this research note I draw on Butz and Besio’s concept of “autoethnographic space” (2009) in a reflexive commentary on the epistemological role of my positionality as it relates to the results of my investigations in the field.