N1’s Marija Komazec spoke to University of Copenhagen Professor Lene Hansen who was in Belgrade to lecture at the University Faculty of Political Sciences as part of the OSCE project titled Consolidating the Process of Democratization in the Security Sector in Serbia. Hansen’s lectures focused on gender and security.
“My main messsage is to draw attention to the importance of security problems specifically related to gender and to provide context to how gender has become something that is seen as relevant to security,” Hansen said.
According to her, the end of the Cold War brought an expansion of the concept of security so that it was no longer just tied to the state and military issues. This expansion of what security has been is also part of what makes scholars and policy makers become aware that there are specific security problems that relate to women but also in a broader sense to men as having particular identities.
She said that more attention has been paid to gender security problems over the past few years, adding that feminists were skeptical about the war crimes trials after the Bosnian war. “A lot of feminists were skeptical about whether there would be a prosecution of sexual violence and that was more progressive in terms of making that a subject that should be considered as a violation of the laws of war.
That has meant that there has been a lot of attention to sexual violence in warfare more generally and in other contexts,”she said. Hansen said that women play a variety of roles in the world today, including in combat and peacekeeping operations. “We also see an impact on women as the ones left behind when men go off to war. We know form studies that post-conflict often can actually affect both the men and have an effect on rising levels of domestic violence afterwards,”she said.