Gender, Participation and Leadership

Discussion paper – Women and international peace and Security in Afghanistan

Current Projects

Young Women's Leadership in Asia and the Pacific in Times of Crisis

Chief Investigators: Katrina Lee-Koo & Eleanor Gordon

Funding partner: World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), Switzerland


This project explores the substance, impact and barriers of young women’s community-engaged leadership in nine countries in Asia and the Pacific (Samoa, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Nepal) in response to four core regional challenges: peace and justice, climate resilience, COVID-19 recovery and gender-based violence. The research will shed light on the importance of mainstreaming young women’s voices and their participation in all areas of government and non-government policies and practises.

Gendering Peace Mediation (2021-2023)

Investigators: Jacqui True, Karin Aggestam, Gina Heathcote and Jenna Sapiano

Funding partner: Australian Research Council’s Discovery Project


Contemporary peace mediation practice and design result in the negotiation of fragile peace settlements that are likely to collapse within five years from the time they are signed.  There is empirical evidence that peace is more durable when women participate in peace processes; however, the current structures and institutions of peace mediation make the exclusion of women possible. First, this project aims to interrogate existing boundaries to women’s participation in peace processes and identify reasons for the failure of peace mediation to address the gendered foundations and impacts of conflict. Second, the project will identify practical mechanisms and generalisable lessons from women’s mediation networks, and national and grassroots-based women mediators to inform and transform high-level mediation processes. The objective is to generate an evidence base for rethinking peace mediation design and practice at the international level.

Towards Inclusive Peace: Mapping Gender Provisions of Peace Agreements (2016-2020)

Chief Investigators: Jacqui TrueKatrina Lee-KooSara Davies & Nicole George

Partner Investigators: Amy Haddad & Sharon McIvor

PhD Candidates: Yasmin ChilmeranElliot Dolan-EvansSarah HewittAlexandra Phelan

Industry Partner: Department of Foreign Affair & Trade (DFAT)

Project Type: Australian Research Council’s Linkage Project Scheme

Project Website & Outputs:


The three-year project, “Towards Inclusive Peace: Mapping Gender Provisions of Peace Agreements”, will investigate how peace agreements can advance women’s rights and participation after post-conflict and political transitions. Women’s participation in peace processes increases the likelihood of a successful peace agreement, but does it consolidate peace and lead to greater participation by women in the governance of the country? This project examines the relationship between women’s presence in the processes of peacemaking, the inclusion of women’s rights and gender provisions in peace agreements, and the outcomes for women’s participation in post-conflict governance of countries with successful peace agreements. Post-conflict and political transitions are major opportunities to advance women’s rights and participation: this project investigates how those opportunities can be harnessed and supported in implementation of peace agreements.

Research Brief: Afghanistan Peace Process

Policy Brief: Towards Inclusive Peace

Report: Financing gender-inclusive peace

Report: Financing Gender-Inclusive Peace

Workshop Report: Nadi, October 2019

Conference Report: Bangkok, October 201

Past Projects

Mapping Women's Access to Justice in Asia and the Pacific: Bridging the Gap Between Formal & Informal Systems Through Women's Empowerment (2018-2019)

Investigators: Jacqui True, Sara Davies, Melissa Johnston, and Maria Tanyag

Funding Partner: UN Women


Professor Jacqui True (Monash) and Professor Sara Davies (Griffith) lead the project, which maps women's access to formal and informal justice systems when they experience violations of their rights in five countries in the Asia and Pacific region (Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu). This project will also identify the main stakeholders engaged in facilitating access or providing services in the justice sector in order to incorporate their views and insights on the gaps between formal and informal systems and enhancing access to justice.

Gender Responsive Alternatives on Climate Change (2017-2019)

Investigators: Jacqui True and Maria Tanyag

Funding Partner: Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade Gender Action Program with Action Aid Australia

Project Website:


This project seeks to address the global gendered impacts of climate change, recognising that women are often disproportionately impacted compared with men by climate change and related crises as a result of gender inequality in access to power and resources. Increasing evidence suggests that climate change is changing weather systems and is driving humanitarian disasters of an unprecedented scale. These disasters present increasing challenges for women living in poverty and exclusion. Without addressing power imbalances that render women either invisible or marginal in climate change policy and planning, women face a cycle of increased vulnerability.

This research collaboration represents a major innovation through the development of a gender-responsive framework to strengthen women’s voice and leadership in responding to climate change and related-crisis. This creates an opportunity to increase learning around how to ensure interventions targeting climate change and emergencies are transformative for long-term resilience and gender equality. The intention of the framework is not only to inform stakeholders on ways to better respond to the gender impacts of climate change in the short and medium terms, but to create an integrated and coherent approach to addressing women’s security that seeks to bridge the current fragmentation that exists across humanitarian, security and development agendas in policymaking and on the ground.

Online Publications:

Research Brief

Global Report

Cambodia Report

Kenya Report

Vanuatu Report

Mobilising Young Women’s Leadership and Advocacy in the Asia Pacific (MYWLAP) (2016-2019)

Investigators: Katrina Lee-Koo & Lesley Pruitt

Funding Partner: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade & World YWCA


This project will create a comprehensive database for the information gathered by YWCA, to monitor and evaluate the framework of the MYWLAP project’s effectiveness, and analyse MYWLAP’s ‘theory of change’ approach. It will also evaluate the successful elements of the model, as well as potential for improvements, and whether and how the program could be deployed effectively in other locations. The Young Women’s Leadership Project will focus on nine countries across the Asia Pacific: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Monash GPS and YWCA aim to fulfil several objectives including: to ensure young women are knowledgeable and skilled to lead a positive change in their community, through the sharing of information in human rights, sexual and reproductive health rights, violence against women and gender; and, to support young women in the Asia Pacific as a driving force in influencing women’s rights policies.

Online Publications:

Research Brief: Young Women's Leadership

Adolescent Girls in Crisis (2016-2019)

Investigators: Katrina Lee-KooEleanor Gordon & Hannah Jay

Partner: Plan International Australia


This project will draw together practitioner experience, scholarly research skills, and community engagement to generate research on the needs and capacities of adolescent girls in crisis. It uses a grounded, feminist research approach which centres the lived realities of adolescent girls as the primary site for building knowledge about the threats to their security, and how those threats should be addressed. As such, the project acknowledges both the vulnerability and agency of adolescent girls in crisis and looks for ways in which the humanitarian sector can support them. It will recommend programmatic responses to girls’ insecurity that addresses needs and responds to opportunities to support girls’ empowerment. Carefully navigating the ethical concerns surrounding working with adolescent girls in crisis, the research project will promote a safe, community-engaged approach that addresses immediate response and prevention.

The project will examine three case studies: the current crisis in South Sudan, the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh and the Lake Chad crisis (Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria).

Online Publications:

Final Report: Voices from Beirut

Summary: Voices from Beirut

Final Report: Voices from the Lake Chad Basin

Summary: Voices from the Lake Chad Basin

Policy Brief: Lake Chad Basin

Final Report: Voices of the Rohingya

Summary: Voices of the Rohingya

Policy Brief: One Year One

Final Report: Voices from South Sudan

Summary: Voices from South Sudan

Policy Brief: Raising Their Voices

Gender after Conflict: Global Approaches to Incorporating a Gender Perspective in Post-conflict Environments (2015-2018)

Investigator:  Katrina Lee-Koo

Project Type: Australian Research Council Discovery Project


A three-year ARC-funded Discovery Project led by Katrina Lee Koo Gender after Conflict examines the international community’s work to address the gendered politics of armed conflict in the transitional processes of establishing peace and security. Focusing on Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, the project asks how international initiatives such as the United Nations Women, Peace and Security agenda are adapted by states and NGOs to local, conflict-affected regions. It uses feminist methodologies to firstly examine the strengths and weaknesses of the UN’s agenda and its adaptation by major states like Australia, and secondly to analyse the impact of the agenda in the region as experienced by local women. The purpose of this research is to use this analyse to advance and better implement the goals of the WPS agenda.

The Gender Dynamics of Security and Defense Sector Reform

Investigator:  Eleanor Gordon

Project Type: Field-Based Research


This project draws from work as a practitioner and field research in post-conflict environments. This project explores the extent to which Security Sector Reform (SSR), specifically Defense Reform, and the subsequent security and defense structures, are responsive to the needs of both men and women and representative of them. The focus is on post-conflict environments where women engaged in large numbers in combat roles during the conflict, particularly in insurgent forces. This focus will help shed light on assumptions about a woman's place, skill set and aptitude (which tend to marginalize women in the defense sector and broader security sector) and how such assumptions shift between war and peace.

Gendered Agricultural Livelihoods in Post War Sri Lanka

Investigator: Samanthi Gunawardana

Project Type: Monash-Oxfam Partnership


In partnership with Oxfam Australia in Sri Lanka, this project examines rural women’s participation patterns in agricultural livelihoods. The objective of this participatory action research project is to examine constraints to women’s access to sustainable livelihoods and enhance more equitable participation and recognition of their contribution in post war Sri Lanka across three communities. It includes an analysis of how different forms of violence can hinder economic empowerment.

Final Report: Rural Sri Lankan Women in Agriculture

Executive Summary: Rural Sri Lankan Women in Agriculture

GPS Research Report 1/2018: S.J. Gunawardana

Other Publications

Youth Leadership: An Annotated Bibliography

Youth Leadership: Recommendations

GPS Report 2/2018: B. Barkha

Report: Making Women Count