EU and gender-security sector reform in Ukraine and Mali: a picture is worth dozens of policies!

Shyamika Jayasundara-Smits*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


This article is a contribution to critical International Relations scholarship on European Union foreign and security policy and to the debates on “Normative Europe”. It focuses on the ways in which the EU engages with their own gender equality policies in external Security Sector Reform (SSR) missions. By analysing visual materials of the European Union Advisory Mission-Ukraine (EUAM Ukraine) and European Union Capacity Building Mission in Sahel Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali) missions, this article identifies the discrepancies between the EU’s proclaimed policy goals about gender equality and visual representations of women and men in the missions’ newsletter photos. These representations reflect a lacklustre approach and suggest a lack of commitment to practices of gender equality and positive role modelling in SSR’s day-to-day activities. This article suggests the EU-SSR missions overhaul their public communication strategies to focus first on “how” to communicate gender equality norms and only then on “what” to communicate. This study shows one concrete opportunity and space where this can be achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-111
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Security
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the EU under HORIZON2020 [grant number 653866]; European Commission. Author would like to thank the Journal editors (Laura Chappell) for efficient handling of this article and for their useful advise and comments, Dr.Dubravka Zarkov for being an inspiration to write this article and giving several rounds of feedback on the initial drafts and Dr.Helen Hintjens for her comments and final editing of the article. Last not the least,I like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments and the EUAM Ukraine and EUCAP Sahel Mali missions for granting permission to reproduce the photographs.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


Dive into the research topics of 'EU and gender-security sector reform in Ukraine and Mali: a picture is worth dozens of policies!'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this