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“Have You Been Recruited Because You Are a Woman or Because You Are Good?” Gendered Humanitarian Diplomats at the United Nations

In: Diplomatica
Author:
Salla TurunenHumanitarianism and Migration Research Group, Chr. Michelsen Institute( cmi), Bergen, Norway, sallakatariinaturunen@gmail.com

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Abstract

This article examines gender equality in humanitarian diplomacy. To date, there has been no discussion of gender in relation to humanitarian diplomacy, which stands in contrast to an existing body of literature on gender and diplomacy. Gender is often discussed in relation to the recipients of humanitarian initiatives, but less is known about how gender impacts aid providers. This article argues that alike diplomacy as a masculine field with homosocial tendencies, these characteristics are also found in humanitarian diplomacy. Based on interviews with staff of the United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (ocha), this exploratory case study of the UN’s gendered humanitarian diplomacy finds the following: In contrast to the UN’s mission of promoting gender equality, the current practices place men as the norm and women as the exception in the organization’s humanitarian diplomacy.

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