Vuic has produced a well-researched and accessible book that is a necessary read for gender historians, especially those interested in the relationship of war and conflict to the construction of gender norms.
Integrating the US Military is not a state-of-the-field type of book. It is, rather, a challenge to those of us who ply our trade in this profession to make the connections necessary to the larger issue of the role the American armed forces play as a reluctant social reform apparatus. In their insightful conclusion, the editors of the volume recognize the traditionally conservative organization has always been at the forefront of change—whether racial, gender, or sexual.
The global women, peace, and security agenda exists to promote and fulfil the human rights of women and achieve gender equality, as part of efforts to build more peaceful and stable societies. The link between equality and improvements for women in the defence and security sector is clear and well researched. For many U.N. member states, national action plans provide the strategic framework to address gaps and deficiencies in the meaningful representation of women in national institutions and in peacekeeping. Given that conflict most often arises in countries with high levels of gender-based discrimination, a culture of valuing the contribution of women is an essential element of suitable peace and security efforts.
In a small sea of books offering insights into Marine Corps leadership, this book stands apart by virtue of its focus on women. That focus, however, is most valuable for women who have no knowledge of military leadership. Those familiar with the military, particularly the Marine Corps, might find the tone annoying.
The importance of a gender perspective in peace and security operations and military affairs has long been established by feminist activists and researchers, and recognized in a number of UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) on women, peace, and security. UNSCR 1325, adopted in 2000, acknowledged for the first time the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and girls. It has become the internationally recognized legal framework for promoting gender equality and addressing issues affecting women’s peace and security at the local, regional, and international levels.
Though it seems war will not change its faces in the coming decades, war has a future, and one of its ends is peace. We have still to see whether the end of war comes about via some technological, humanity-ending armageddon or a technology-mediated, people-centered peace. Yet more data points to consider on the terrain of time.