Sandra Biskupski-Mujanovic

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I am currently a SSHRC-funded Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Waterloo in the Political Science Department and the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

Prior to this, I was the Postdoctoral Fellow at the Transforming Military Cultures Network.

I reside in London, Ontario.

Tell us about your work on WPS

WPS has been foundational for my academic work on women’s informal transitional justice initiatives in Bosnia and Japan (for my MA) and when interviewing women in the Canadian Armed Forces for my PhD about their experiences on peace operations.

Share a highlight of your work on WPS issues

The WPS agenda has been significant through mainstreaming gender and including gender in conversations on international peace and security where it was traditionally an add-on or not considered at all. As such, It has provided a framework and language to discuss gender issues in my research on the military. Feminist scholars and practitioners, many who work on WPS, have shaped my thinking immensely and I try to include these perspectives in all of my work.

Who do you admire in the WPS field?

I admire how collaborative and feminist many scholars and practitioners working in WPS are. Many do not shy away from transformative approaches and push boundaries to create a world where women are not only included but centred. Increasingly I see intersectionality prioritized and a push for the inclusion of all women in their diversity, which is so important. Members of the WPSN-C exhibit all of these qualities and I admire them very much!

What have you read recently that you would like to recommend to Network members?

This is not a recent piece but I love Laura Shepherd’s article, “Making war safe for women? National Action Plans and the militarisation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.” It is as relevant today as it was in 2016 when written.

If you could make one recommendation for the next National Action Plan on WPS, what would it be?

I would recommend Canada prioritize the domestic agenda. Just last year, through the Arbour report and the Minister’s Advisory Panel on Systemic Racism and Discrimination report, we saw how urgent it is to address issues “in our own backyard.” Canada has to walk the walk in order to be a leader in WPS. Likewise, I would like to see us stray away from encouraging women’s increased participation because it improves operational effectiveness. Rather, women’s inclusion and equality in peace and security needs to be advanced for rights-based arguments.

What is your dream for the WPS agenda?

My dream would be to see the WPS agenda be more intersectional so that all women see themselves in it and can use it as a tool to advance their rights. Likewise, I think this can only happen with the inclusion of diverse voices at all stages of the process. While I think the GoC has become much better at doing this through the WPS Advisory Group, all implementation partners should be collaborating with civil society and prioritizing lived experience voices. However, this cannot just be a box-checking exersize and should be done meaningfully and consistently.

Is there something else you’d like to say about WPS issues?

I have been a member of the WPSN-C for some time now and I have always been impressed by how invested members are in WPS and the wealth of knowledge they have, highlighting the importance of civil society engagement!