Centre for International and Defence Policy

Centre for International and Defence Policy
Centre for International and Defence Policy

Women Peace & Security (WPS)


Mapping Canadian Women Peace and Security Expertise

Funding Summary:

As of June 25, 2020, the principal investigator of this project, Bibi Imre-Millei, granted a total funding package of $5,000 (CAD) by the Canadian defence academy. The recipient’s objective, in accordance to the package, was to conduct a scan to identify the Canadian academics and not for profit organizations engaged in advancing understanding of the WPS Agenda and issues related to gender and security with a focus on documenting specific areas of research and expertise. Bibi and research assistant Maddy Godin worked on delivering a 20-30 page research paper which was submitted in September 2020.

The authors investigated the following questions: where are Canadian WPS expertise located physically? What are the key institutions, organizations, and centres which support WPS research and activism? Who are some of the individual key players in the field? What do mentorship and networking opportunities look like? To locate WPS experts and organizations in Canada, the authors searched the directory of every university in Canada and cross-referenced these findings with multiple other platforms to find academics working in the field.


  • Firstly, WPS expertise are overwhelmingly located in Ontario. While most other provinces and territories had anywhere from one to 20 experts, Ontario had over 130. Following Ontario was British Columbia with 20 experts and Quebec with 13. Manitoba and Nova Scotia had between 6 and 12 experts each, whereas Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Yukon had under five. Finally, academic experts on WPS could not be located in Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut.
  • Secondly, the authors found that the University of Toronto, York University, and Queen’s University are hubs that support WPS research, whereby various centres associated with these institutions support WPS work. Ottawa more generally is noted to have considerable WPS expertise, being well connected to research centres, the not-for-profit sector, and the government. Outside of Ontario, Mount St. Vincent University has multiple researchers working on WPS related topics. In total, 17 organizations were found to support research and activism around WPS topics in Canada.
  • Thirdly, within Canada, the WPS field is dominated by white women. There is an extremely low number of men in the field, with a rough estimation of over 95 percent women and five percent men. Most women in the field were white, but most men in the field were not. There were as many Black men, Indigenous men, and other men of colour in the field as white men.
  • Finally, multiple organizations offer mentorship and networking opportunities for scholars at all levels, but most focus on mentorship and networking for students. There is less support for adjuncts and junior faculty, but these groups sometimes fall under “emerging scholar” categories which allow them to access some of the same opportunities as students.

Moving Forward:

The primary strategy to support WPS research is funding in order to increase WPS initiatives and become more inclusive of research. Funding is also important to help make WPS work more visible. Finally, existing research networks in the peace and security space can strengthen their connections to promote the WPS agenda.


Global Affairs Canada: Feminist Foreign Policy Dialogue

To access this article in full, visit https://www.amnesty.ca/ffp and refer to the contribution marked “Centre for International and Defence Policy.”

The authors suggest that Global Affairs Canada (GAC) should invest in and partner with Canadian Women Peace and Security (WPS) experts and activists at all levels. They argue that GAC needs to foster WPS research domestically because it will enable better engagement with partners abroad, and bolster Canada as an important player in the feminist foreign policy (FFP) space. GAC should focus resources on supporting the growth of mentorship opportunities, student-based initiatives, and ultimately foster academic research through well-distributed funding and making WPS work visible and accessible. By making WPS research visible, international partnerships will be strengthened; as will Canada’s position as a leader in FFP and WPS.


Current Grants and Ongoing Work

Funding Summary:

As of December 07, 2020, Mobilizing Insights and Defence Security (MINDS) granted the project “Tracking and Identifying Women Peace and Security Research” a total funding package of $17, 900. The principal investigator of this project, Bibi Imre-Millei, has proposed to map current expertise on Women Peace and Security (WPS) expertise across Canada, including those of academic institutions, activists, and not-for-profit organizations. Bibi worked with research assistant Maddy Godin in the beginning of the project and brought on research assistant Melika Khajeh Hosseiny. A database of expertise is to be created in order to better connect the Canadian WPS field. In addition, the project will discover what funding gaps and mentorship gaps exist in the field as well as other needs of academics, activists, organizations, and practitioners via interviews.

Progress Report:

To date, a working database of WPS expertise has been created, outlining the following: academic institutions that house WPS expertise, provincial breakdowns of WPS expertise, organizations supporting the WPS field and/or related topics. The team has also discovered what WPS-related research has been conducted between the years of 2017-present. Interviews with WPS experts on their opinions of the WPS field in Canada are ongoing, with initial findings suggest funding, mentorship, and networking gaps are present. At this point, the team is finalizing interviews and beginning the coding process in order to appropriately draw trends and conclusions.