The increasing reliance on private military and security companies in contemporary conflict and peacekeeping raises a host of new issues for feminist scholars and activists. In recent years, a new set of critical gender scholarship has emerged that examines gender as a central aspect of security privatization. In parallel, the private security industry has begun to pay more attention to gender and women in an attempt to improve its legitimacy. In this talk, I outline some of the sites where we can “see gender” in private security, from debates on accountability and regulation, to gendered divisions of labour, and the remaking of civil-military relations more broadly.
Maya Eichler is Canada Research Chair in Social Innovation and Community Engagement and assistant professor in the Department of Political and Canadian Studies and the Department of Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University (Halifax). Her research interests lie in feminist international relations theory, gender and the armed forces, the privatization of military security, and post-Soviet politics. She has published the book Militarizing Men: Gender, Conscription, and War in Post-Soviet Russia with Stanford University Press (2012) and recent articles in Critical Studies on Security, Citizenship Studies, and the International Journal. Her edited volume Gender and Private Security in Global Politics was published by Oxford University Press in 2015. Her current research focuses on the politics of veterans and the transition from military to civilian life in Canada. She serves as an Associate Editor for the International Feminist Journal of Politics.