In 2021 Stéfanie von Hlatky, Director of the CIDP & Associate Professor in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University, was awarded the Canada Research Chair Tier II on Gender, Security, and the Armed Forces.


Summary of Research Program:

United National Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) on Women Peace and Security (WPS) acknowledged that violent conflict affects men, women, boys, and girls differently. In practice, the adoption of UNSCR 1325 has led to policies to increase the participation of women in peace processes and the adoption of gender-based analysis, usually in the form of GBA+, and programs to combat sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) to guide how military missions are designed. While organizations like the United Nations (UN), the North Atlantic Treaty Association (NATO), and the European Union (EU) have endorsed changes institutionally, they have not pursued them as vigorously in practice, leading to inconsistencies and unintended consequences.

By investigating how gender policies impact governments and international organizations, this project builds on research in International Relations that studies the normative and cultural underpinnings of foreign and defence policy-decision making. It also contributes to our understanding of how WPS norms affect international responses to armed conflict. The aim of this project is to demonstrate how greater diversity and inclusion can improve prospects for peace.

Team Introduction:

The principal investigator of this project, Dr. Stéfanie von Hlatky, is an associate professor of Political Studies at Queen’s University and the Director of the Centre for International and Defence Policy. Dr. von Hlatky has recruited 5 research assistants and a CDSN Post-Doctoral Fellow for this project: Dr. Johanna Massé, Bibi Imre-Millei (MA, Sociology), Emily Quimby (MA, Political Studies), Morgan-Olivia Fox (PPE, Specialization in Political Studies), Owen Wong (BAH, Political Studies), and Melika Khajeh Hosseiny (BAH, Political Studies & Global Development).


This research project will proceed in three stages: (1) demonstrate how gender policies affect day-to-day policy discussions and activities; (2) explain differences in gender policies in a structured, focused comparison of the UN, NATO, and the EU; (3) test the validity of the comparative framework and offer findings on how gender policies are affecting mission outcomes through detailed case studies and fieldwork.

Thus far, the team has researched the unintended consequences of the WPS agenda, noting tensions between local and international priorities, burdens on civil society, and a lack of intersectionality. While investigating the UN, NATO, and the EU, the team has coded for over twenty categories which broadly characterize WPS guideline objectives, guideline types, target audiences, involved actors, and so forth. The team has also begun to consider hypotheses related to international and transnational, organizational, context specific, and critical categories.

Some Outputs:

Dr. von Hlatky’s expertise has also contributed to ongoing debates about culture change in the CAF: The Hill Times (February, 2021); CTV News (March, 2021); The New York Times (March, 2021); CBC Radio (March, 2021 and May, 2021); CBC News (April, 2021); and more. Within these engagements, Dr. von Hlatky has noted the need to consider aspects of military culture that contribute to sexual misconduct, making it difficult for victims and survivors to speak out. In addition, she has underlined that while changes have happened on a leadership level, the core of military culture is yet to be disrupted pushing for redefinition of the professional culture and independent models for reporting and investigation.

Additionally, Dr. von Hlatky has written on gender mainstreaming in NATO and the perceptions of military elites towards gender mainstreaming vis-à-vis operation effectiveness (2020). She has contributed to The Palgrave Handbook of Gender, Sexuality, and Canadian Politics, arguing for Canadian defence policy to make space for feminist perspectives (2020).

Dr. von Hlatky has provided recommendations for how states and organizations can improve gender trainings, highlighting the need for feedback stages, grounded training, and needs assessment tools (2020) as well as contributed to the NATO report “Developing a Culture and Gender Inclusive Model of Military Professionalism” (2020). She has co-authored a memo with Bibi Imre-Millei for Global Affairs Canada, demonstrating how feminist alliances can enhance diplomatic engagements (2020). Bibi Imre-Millei was also interviewed by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute podcast, Defence Deconstructed on comprehensive culture change in the CAF (2021), in addition to a policy paper written with Charlotte Duval-Lantoine on the same topic with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (2021).

Dr. von Hlatky has contributed to multiple expert briefings and government reports. This included briefings for two NATO reports in 2020. Dr. von Hlatky has contributed to the Standing Committee on National Defence in February 2021, “Addressing Sexual Misconduct Issues in the Canadian Armed Forces, Including the Allegations Against Former Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance,” and has briefed the CAF on culture change on multiple occasions.