Guest Editorial – Women and Security Special Issue

by Dr Negar Partow
Published in National Security Journal, 09 April 2021

The findings of Gilligan’s and later gender studies scholars expanded Gilligan’s finding to centralise the importance of gender equality and changed the very character of political philosophy by posing significant challenges to liberalism and its definition of an individual. This focus on relations and connections that was revealed in the 1970s and 1980s studies became a building block for vital studies on defence and security, all of which highlighted the lack of women’s voices in the field and its significance in decision making about matters of security and defence. It took however, another two decades of dedicated work, writings, lobbying and raising awareness before the significance of women’s voice was acknowledged in the field of defence and security by the United Nations Security Council in the UNSCR1325. This was the first international document in which women were not presented only as the victims of war but it reaffirmed the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace building, peacekeeping, humanitarian efforts and in post-conflict reconstruction. It emphasises the necessity of women’s equal participation in all efforts regarding the preventing and ending of a conflict as well as reconstruction efforts. Two more decades have passed since the resolution, yet decision making about security issues that matter globally still are taken almost exclusively without the presence and participation of women. This issue of the National Security Journal is dedicated to the research of women researchers with, or associated with, the Centre for Defence and Security Studies, to address significant issues in New Zealand’s national and international security environment.

The five articles in this issue of National Security Journal are all concerned with matters of national security, criminalisation and securitisation in narratives and practices of security. Deidre McDonald, writes about the significance of reframing New Zealand’s biosecurity conversation in the post-Covid 19 era, a discussion that is essential for and relevant to thinking about risk management and biodiversity in the time of a pandemic. She argues that in order for New Zealand to be prepared, clear messaging about biosecurity practices, including quarantine, movement restriction and isolation as well as those risks that connects animal health management with human health are necessary. Drawing upon New Zealand’s leading role in the international biosecurity discourse, MacDonald views New Zealand’s biosecurity leadership position a great opportunity for developing a closer connection between human health and biosecurity threats internationally.

Integration and community policing policies are central themes in Yvette McKelvie’s article on community policing of the Syrian community in Wellington in this issue. To this end McKelvie interviews those who work with Syrian community in Wellington and discusses some of their challenges and vulnerabilities. She highlights how, by paying specific attention to the role of community and cultural awareness, community policing could become more efficient and effective.