Contrary to what we thought we had reason to hope for, the fall of the Berlin Wall did not bring about a peace dividend and the post-Cold War world did not see a demilitarization of politics. Worldwide military structures strive for new purposes and designs and seek to convince a remarkably skeptical public of their value and worth. War and warfare have not been successfully delegitimized, but are (re)cast as part of the normalcy of a nation meeting its noblest obligations. Correspondingly, the concepts of security and threat have seen great changes. Ever since its appearance in the 1990s in development aswell as in military discourse, human security serves as a new reference point for war and peace efforts. At the same time as casting development in the highly ambivalent frame of security, human security offers a gateway for social and gender differentiation.1 This in turn allows the human rights discourse and feminist perspectives to make demands on the security sector. Thus, on national and international levels the security sector sees itself confronted with the gender mainstreaming mandates articulated in the Beijing Platform for Action which all governments had signed and the international women’s movements had vigorously lobbied for. The debate on and the reality of “failed states” and “new wars”2

brought to the fore two features of the globalized world which both carry a gender dimension: (a) the increased number of states incapable of providing the public good security; and (b) the failure of development to create sufficient jobs and, as a consequence, rising numbers of un-and underemployment. Ever increasing masses of young men, devoid of regular sources of income and deprived of civil forms of functioning

as family providers, seek to manifest their masculinity in forms of more or less organized violence. Both may well and all too often do conjure to violent-prone forms of conflict settlement. Where the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical violence of the state is eroded and legal forms of employment or sufficient assets to secure an income are hard to come by, men may easily be drawn into illegal, potentially violent ways of making a living. There is a growing body of literature on gender and violent conflict

and the impact of gender patterns in the various conflict phases. On a conceptual level by and large a feminist concept of gender has gained ground which extends beyond the gender-differentiation of social reality into a normative critique of gender asymmetries and the quest for emancipatory transformation. On an empirical level it is now generally acknowledged that men and women experience violent conflict and war in significantly different ways, and concepts of masculinity and femininity and of a “proper” and “fitting” gender order play a major role in all phases of violent conflict. In line with United Nations (UN) parlance, conflict phases usually

are defined in terms of conflict escalation, open conflict and post-conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction.3 When the UN Security Council passed its resolutions with regard to gender it did so primarily relating to the post-conflict phase and concerned with “the importance of involving women in all peace-keeping and peacebuilding measures” as noted in Security Council Resolution 1325. By and large the focus on peace processes and the various types of multidimensional peace operations is maintained in the by now five UN Security Council resolutions usually discussed summarily under the heading of “Women, Peace, and Security.” These are Security Council Resolutions 1325 (31 October 2000), 1820 (19 June 2008), 1888 (30 September 2009), 1889 (5 October 2009), and 1960 (16 December 2010).4 After discussing their content and main thrust the question will be raised, if, along with an increased emphasis on sexual violence, a shift to a discourse of victimhood and a loss of agency ascription is discernible. This then obliges us to reconsider gender mainstreaming with a view to its meaning in different settings and its status as an encompassing meta-strategy.