Louise Olsson

Research Director

Louise Olsson
Additional position(s):
Senior Researcher

Email: louise@prio.org
Mobile phone: +47 413 65 305
Twitter: @LouiseKOlsson
CV: Download CV

Research Interests

Louise Olsson's research systematically examines gender equality aspects of armed conflict and its resolution, and it explores the normative developments related to gender mainstreaming and the UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. In addition, Olsson works to support research-policy dialogue and the effective use of research in policy development and decision-making.

Current projects:

Olsson are working on three projects focusing on the role of elected states in the UN Security Council. One seeks to enhance a research-policy dialogue and the other two research projects seek to better understand how elected states influence the integration and realization of Women, Peace and Security when acting on the Council:

Dialogue Forum for Norway's membership in the United Nations Security Council. In relation to the Norwegian membership in the United Nations Security Council, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)  and PRIO, are organizing a series of thematic roundtable meetings in 2021 and 2022. The roundtable meetings are organized around central themes and issues relating to the Security Council agenda and the Norwegian membership. Each meeting will invite leading researchers and experts within the chosen field with the two-fold aim of expanding the knowledge base and identifying opportunities for Norway in the Security Council. In the spring of 2021, the themes of health and of climate were discussed.

Shattering glass: African Elected Members of the UN Security Council and the Fight for Women, Peace and Security. While previous research has tended to treat the Security Council as a unitary actor, this qualitative project analyses and compares the strategies and actions of a select number of elected states. Thereby, the project strives to capture dynamics related to economic development, contributions to peacekeeping, and roles in regional conflicts and their solution. The project places a particular emphasis on collaborations between younger researchers from the African continent and on public dissemination and dialogue. The project is led by Angela Muvumba Sellström and funded by the Swedish Research Council. It is part of a broader PRIO-Nordic Africa Institute effort to expand our knowledge of the UN Security Council at a time of drastic changes in the geopolitical landscape.

Tracking and analyzing WPS in the Security Council in real time. Are we moving from rhetoric to impactful action by integrating Women, Peace and Security in regular UN Security Council resolutions? This is important as our initial data indicates that WPS language often remains generic and of low priority, thereby negatively affecting the ability to obtain an effect on the ground in conflict areas. To address that problem, this project tracks and analyzes WPS language as resolutions get adopted in 2021 and by back-coding to 2015 when the Global Study and UN Security Council resolution 2242 both underlined the need for in-depth analysis of the Council's own efforts to realize the WPS agenda. Thereby, the novel data provided by this project gives us detailed information about current developments and allows us to develop strategies for effective ways forward.

In addition to analyzing such international developments, Olsson is working on two projects in a collaboration with Uppsala University that study the integration of Women, Peace and Security and gender equality in a national context. One seeks to better understand what these issues practically can entail in the creation of peace with a focus on peace agreements and their implementation. The other tries to support the development of a better understanding of what Women, Peace and Security and gender equality can mean for efforts to maintain peace at the time of the reestablishment of a Total defense in Sweden:

From Hopeful Agreements to Disillusioned Peace? The effects of peace agreement implementation on women’s security and empowerment (2018-2021 with Erika Forsberg and Karen Brouneus, Uppsala University). This project combines a global study tracking gender aspects in a set of peace processes, with in-depth analysis of Colombia, including both survey and focus group data. Funded by the Swedish Research Council.

Women, peace, and security in the defense of Sweden (2019-2021, located at Uppsala University). With the return to a focus on national defense, issues regarding the protection and resilience of the population are increasingly discussed. This, in turn, raises important questions about the role of gender equality and the norm on Women, Peace and Security in a national defense and security context. The report Toward an enhanced analysis of the human terrain in Sweden: Men’s and women’s willingness to defend, mobilization, resilience, and safety in the context of National Defense presents research, statistics, pedagogical material, and recommendations on how to enhance the analysis of a national context by incorporating issues related to variations between men and women when it comes to willingness to defend, mobilization, resilience, and safety, further incorporating interactions regarding other conditions, such as age and socio-economic background. The project was funded by the Swedish Armed Forces. 

Finally, Louise Olsson leads two projects that studies women's inclusion, gender equality dynamics, and Women, Peace and Security in relation to military organizations:

- Should I stay or Should I go? (2020-2023 with co-project leader Chiara Ruffa, and researchers Erik Melander, and Sara Lindberg-Bromley, Uppsala University). The project asks: What determines if women choose to leave or to stay employed in a male-dominated organization? Addressing that question is key for being able to establish a more gender-equal workplace. Drawing on novel qualitative and quantitative material, this interdisciplinary project therefore aims to advance our knowledge on what factors affect the retention of female personnel. Funded by the Swedish Research Council on Health, Working Life and Welfare.

Reducing Barriers for Women in the Norwegian Armed Forces' Peacekeeping Contributions (2020-2021 with the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) and Sabrina Karim at Cornell University). The aim of the project is to assess the relative importance of ten different barriers for women and men's deployment to international military missions. This will allow for evidence-based policy recommendations that can contribute to the Norwegian Armed Forces' ongoing efforts nationally, and to Norway's international credibility in advancing equal opportunities and the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda. Other countries contributing to the international project led by DCAF and Cornell University of which the Norwegian case-study is part, are Bangladesh, Ghana, Jordan, Mongolia, Senegal, Uruguay, and Zambia. Funded by DCAF.


Olsson got her PhD from Uppsala University in 2007 with the thesis Equal Peace. United Nations Peace Operations and the Power-Relations between men and women in Timor-Leste (published by Brill 2009). She is the editor of several special issues of international research journals, the latest also being published in the book Gender, Peace and Security: Implementing UN Resolution 1325 (Routledge 2015).

Prior to taking up her position at PRIO, Olsson was the Senior Advisor to the Director General at the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), Sweden. Before that, she served as the Head of the Women, Peace and Security Program at FBA between 2011-2015. A central part of her work at FBA was to enhance research-policy dialogue and to create and lead a Research Working Group on Women, Peace and Security consisting of international scholars. The aim was to promote systematic empirical research of relevance for the implementation of the UN resolutions (2009-2018).

As a Senior Advisor, Olsson also worked with strategic organizational development on inclusivity and gender mainstreaming, and with policy support. For example, Olsson has supported the work with the Swedish National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and has led evaluation teams analyzing how NATO's military operations and EU's civilian missions address the Women, Peace and Security agenda. 

Olsson has substantial pedagogical experience and has been involved in education and training for a broad range of audiences. For example, she has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels and has been the Director of Studies at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University. As regards policy-related training, Olsson has served as a coach on gender equality and Women, Peace and Security at a Gender Coach Program, which is a training program for senior management, organized by the Swedish Armed Forces. There she has acted as the coach to the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces (2015-17), to the Head of Joint Operations (2019-20), and to the Head of the Military Intelligence and Security Directorate (2013). She has also collected some of her experiences in organizing such a leader training course in 2013 in the policy paper Gender Training for Leaders written together with Major Anna Björson (published by Georgetown University).

Olsson began her career in 1999 by contributing to the UN project Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Operations which held its final workshop in Windhoek in May 2000.

Former projects:

Inequality and insurgency in India: a disaggregated analysis of the link between gender inequality and armed conflict (2015-2018. With Erika Forsberg, Uppsala University). By combining fieldwork with statistical analysis of new micro-level data on India’s 640 districts, this project sought to improve our understanding of the mechanisms behind gender inequality and violent conflict. Funded by the Swedish Research Council.

Disciplining Fighters: Understanding Armed Political Actors’ Control of Sexual Violence (2016-2019. With Angela Muvumba-Sällström, Uppsala University). This project studied why and how diverse types of armed groups, with their varied agendas, motivations, institutions and gradations of sociality during wartime, create preventive cultures and pathways. Funded by the Swedish Research Council

- Sweden in the UN Security Council: Making Women, Peace and Security Core Council Business? (2019-2020) The objective of this first joint PRIO-Uppsala University/Nordic Africa Institute project was to increase our knowledge on the role of an elected member in two respects: 1) It provided insights into a) the assessments and decisions involved in forming the elected member’s aims and strategy, and b) the tactical manoeuvring of the conditions which affect an elected member’s efforts to promote WPS within the UNSC’s responsibilities and processes. 2) It demonstrated a) how the effects of an elected member’s actions on the WPS trajectory can be understood, and b) outline a model for assessing progress on integration into UNSC’s responsibilities. Funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and FBA.

Equal Peace? Women’s Empowerment and Multicultural Challenges in War-to-Peace Transitions (2018. With Inger Skjelsbæk and Torunn L. Tryggestad, PRIO.) Olsson contributed with a study of women mediator networks (with Anna Möller-Loswick, and Camilla Riesenfeld at FBA) and with a chapter on the production of the Global Study to the Oxford Handbook on Women, Peace and Security (with Ismene Gizelis, University of Essex).


PRIO started tracking events online in 2007. This listing is not complete. Past events may be mentioned in our news archive.

Recent Publications

All Publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Duque, Juan Diego; Erika Forsberg & Louise Olsson (2022) Implementing Gender Provisions: A Study of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in the Philippines, International Negotiation: a Journal of Theory and Practice. DOI: 10.1163/15718069-bja10068.
Olsson, Louise & Madhav Joshi (2021) War termination and women's political rights, Social Science Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2020.102523.
Olsson, Louise & Erika Forsberg (2021) Examining Gender Inequality and Armed Conflict at the Subnational Level, Journal of Global Security Studies. DOI: 10.1093/jogss/ogaa023.
Olsson, Louise; Angela Muvumba Sellström; Stephen Moncrief; Karin Johansson; Walter Lotze; Chiara Ruffa; Amelia Hoover Green; Ann-Kristin ‘Anki’ Sjöberg; Roudabeh Kishi & Elisabeth J. Wood (2020) Forum: Peacekeeping Prevention: Strengthening Efforts to Preempt Conflict-related Sexual Violence, International Peacekeeping 27(4): 517–585.
Olsson, Louise & Anna K. Jarstad (2012) Hybrid Peace Ownership in Afghanistan: International Perspectives of Who Owns What and When, Global Governance 18(1).
Olsson, Louise (2000) Mainstreaming Gender in Multidimensional Peacekeeping: A Field Perspective, International Peacekeeping 7(3).


Book Chapter

Olsson, Louise (2022) Peacekeeping operations and women’s security, in Han Dorussen, ed., Handbook on Peacekeeping and International Relations. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd (242–255).
Krause, Jana & Louise Olsson (2022) Women’s Participation in Peace Processes, in MacGinty, Roger; & Anthony Wanis-St.John, eds, Contemporary Peacemaking: Conflict, Violence and Peace Processes. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.
Olsson, Louise & Theodora-Ismene Gizelis (2019) The Production of the 2015 Global Study, in Davies, Sara; & Jacqui True, eds, Oxford University Press Handbook on Women, Peace and Security. Oxford: Oxford University Press (122–134).
Olsson, Louise (2018) Same Peace – Different Quality? The Importance of Security Equality for Quality Peace, in Madhav, Joshi; & Peter Wallensteen, eds, Understanding Quality Peace. Milton Park and New York: Routledge (44–58).
Olsson, Louise (2017) Fred och säkerhet ur ett jämställdhetsperspektiv [Peace and Security in an Equal Rights Perspective], in Aggestam, Karin; & Kristine Höglund, eds, Om krig och fred. En introduktion till freds- och konfliktstudier. Lund: Studentlitteratur (259–273).
Olsson, Louise & Erika Forsberg (2016) Gender inequality and internal conflict, in Oxford Research Encyclopedias of Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Olsson, Louise; Anita Schjølset & Frida Möller (2015) Women’s participation in international operations and missions, in Gizelis, Theodora-Ismene; & Louise Olsson, eds, Gender, Peace and Security: Implementing UN Resolution 1325. Milton Park and New York: Routledge.
Olsson, Louise & Anna K. Jarstad (2011) Local ownership of peace. Hobbes, Rousseau and international support for state-building in Afghanistan, in Fjelde, Hanne; & Kristine Höglund, eds, Building peace, creating conflict? Conflictual dimensions of local and international peace-building. Lund: Nordic Academic Press.
Olsson, Louise (2008) Peacekeeping, in Encyclopedia of Social Problems. London: Sage.
Olsson, Louise (2008) Resolution 1325 och den Nordiska Snabbinsatsstyrkan, in Anders W. Berggren, ed., Förutsättningar för att verka internationellt - Slutrapport från temaområde Människan i NBF 2004 - 2008. Stockholm: Försvarshögskolan.
Olsson, Louise (2005) The Namibian Peace Operation in a Gender Context, in Mazurana, Dyan; Angela Angela Raven-Roberts; & Jane Parpart, eds, Gender, Conflict, and Peacekeeping. Boulder & Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.

Edited Volume

Gizelis, Theodora-Ismene; & Louise Olsson, eds, (2015) Gender, Peace and Security: Implementing UN Resolution 1325. Milton Park and New York: Routledge.
Olsson, Louise; & Torunn L. Tryggestad, eds, (2001) Women and International Peacekeeping. London & Portland: Frank Cass Publishers. Cass Series on Peacekeeping.

Non-refereed Journal Article

Popular Article

Chang, Patty; Louise Olsson & Angela Muvumba Sellström (2021) Advancing Women, Peace and Security in the UN Security Council: Critical Choices for Elected Member States, IPI Global Observatory, 7 October.
Olsson, Louise & Madhav Joshi (2021) What's Next for Women's Rights in Afghanistan?, Political Violence @ a Glance, 13 September.
Joshi, Madhav & Louise Olsson (2021) What's at stake for women in Afghanistan, Political Violence at a Glance, 15 April.
Muvumba Sellström, Angela; Louise Olsson; Stephen Moncrief; Karin Johansson; Chiara Ruffa; Amelia Hoover Green; Ann-Kristin ‘Anki’ Sjöberg; Roudabeh Kishi & Elisabeth J. Wood (2021) New Perspectives on Preventing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, The International Peace Institute (IPI) Global Observatory, 16 February.

Conference Paper

Olsson, Louise; Patty Chang & Angela Muvumba Sellström (2021) Understanding E10 strategies and influence: Sweden and Women, Peace and Security in the UN Security Council, presented at International Studies Association Annual Convention, Online, April 6.

PRIO Policy Brief

Kishi, Roudabeh & Louise Olsson (2022) Violence Targeting Women in Politics: Implications for the UN Security Council, GPS Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Stai, Nora Kristine; Ida Rødningen; Louise Olsson & Andreas Forø Tollefsen (2021) Breaking Down Barriers for Norway’s Deployment of Military Women, GPS Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Kishi, Roudabeh & Louise Olsson (2019) How Does Political Violence Target Women? New Data from ACLED, GPS Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Gindele, Rebecca; Madhav Joshi; Louise Olsson; Jason Quinn; Elise Ditta & Rebecca Méndez (2018) Implementing the Final Colombian Peace Agreement, 2016–2018, GPS Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.

PRIO Paper

Olsson, Louise; Angela Muvumba Sellström; Patty Chang; Torunn L. Tryggestad; Peter Wallensteen & Ingebjørg Finnbakk (2021) Sweden as an Elected Member of the UN Security Council: Promoting Women, Peace and Security as Core Council Business, 2017–18, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.

Report - Other

Joshi, Madhav; Louise Olsson; Rebecca Gindele; Josefina Echavarría Alvarez; Elise Ditta; & Patrick McQuestion (2020) Women, Peace and Security: Understanding the Implementation of Gender Stipulations in Peace Agreements, Joint Brief Series: New Insights on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) for the Next Decade. Stockholm: Folke Bernadotte Academy, PRIO and UN Women.
Olsson, Louise; Karen Hostens; Inger Skjelsbæk; & Elise Fredrikke Barth (2004) Gender Aspects of Conflict Interventions: Intended and Unintended Consequences, Report to Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Oslo.

Report - External Series

Möller-Loswick, Anna; Camilla Riesenfeld; & Louise Olsson (2019) Insights from the Inside: Women’s Mediation Networks as a Tool for Influencing Peace Processes, FBA Policy Briefs. Stockholm: Folke Bernadotte Academy.

Blog Posts

Should We Abandon the UN Security Council as an Anchor for Women, Peace and Security? Personal Reflections from New York

Posted by Louise Olsson on Tuesday, 21 June 2022

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of the UN Security Council’s death have been greatly exaggerated. That does not mean to say that the legitimacy crisis is not real nor that the long-term trajectory – escalated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine – might not be terminal. The consequences for ... Read more »

Украинские женщины участвуют в сопротивлении и должны участвовать в мирных переговорах: новые данные опросов

Posted by Ragnhild Nordås, Louise Olsson, Gudrun Østby & Torunn L. Tryggestad on Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Женщины – “неотъемлемая часть своей страны и её сопротивления”. С таким посланием Катерина Черепаха, президент организации “Ла Страда – Україна”, обратилась к миру в своём апрельском выступлении в Совете Безопасности ООН.. В своей речи она также подчеркнула возросшую незащищённость женщин и девочек в отношении угрозы похищения, пыток и убийства. Теперь ... Read more »

Українські жінки беруть участь в опорі і мають брати участь у мирних перемовинах: результати нового опитування

Posted by Ragnhild Nordås, Louise Olsson, Gudrun Østby & Torunn L. Tryggestad on Saturday, 30 April 2022

Жінки є «невід’ємною частиною країни та її опору» – з таким посланням звернулася до світу президент організації «Ла Страда-Україна» Kaтeринa Чeрeпaхa,  виступаючи перед Радою Безпеки ООН у квітні. У своєму виступі вона також підкреслила високу вразливість жінок і дівчат щодо загроз викрадення, катувань та вбивств. Тепер ми знаємо, що жінки ... Read more »

Ukrainian Women Engage in Resistance and Should Be in the Peace Talks: New Survey Evidence

Posted by Ragnhild Nordås, Louise Olsson, Gudrun Østby & Torunn L. Tryggestad on Friday, 29 April 2022

Women are an “integral part of her country and its resistance.” This was the message that Kateryna Cherepakha, President of the organization La Strada-Ukraine, communicated to the world when speaking before the UN Security Council in April. Her speech also highlighted increased vulnerability of women and girls to the threat ... Read more »

Representation Is Not Enough: Women Briefing the UN Security Council

Posted by Louise Olsson & Anna Marie Obermeier on Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Inviting more women to brief the United Nations Security Council helps include them in decision-making on international peace and security. But despite progress, challenges remain. The Council must integrate recommendations from women’s voices into Council decisions. As the struggle over existing norms in multilateral systems has hardened, women’s rights have ... Read more »

What Do We Know About State-Civil Society Engagement for Women, Peace and Security in the UN Security Council?

Posted by Louise Olsson on Wednesday, 10 November 2021

On October 21, the UN Security Council (UNSC) held its annual Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) under the presidency of Kenya, one out of ten members of the UNSC that was elected to serve by the UN General Assembly (a so-called E10 state). Kenya has joined forces ... Read more »

A Critical Moment for Women’s Political Rights in Intra-Afghan Negotiation and Beyond

Posted by Madhav Joshi & Louise Olsson on Wednesday, 3 March 2021

One year ago, on February 29, 2020, the Doha Agreement was signed between the United States and the Taliban. This agreement outlines a process for a gradual withdrawal of foreign troops in Afghanistan, Taliban’s commitment to preventing the use of Afghan soil against the US and its allies security, and ... Read more »

The COVID-19 Crisis Spotlights Criticality of Women’s Participation and UNSCR 1325: A Policy-Research Exchange

Posted by Njoki Kinyanjui & Louise Olsson on Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Women are often on the periphery of formal peace and political solutions with limited decision-making power. We argue that the current COVID-19 crisis has spotlighted three critical elements affecting women’s participation which need to be tackled in the upcoming 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325, the first UN Security Council Resolution ... Read more »

Feminism and Empiricism: Two Contributions to Improving Women’s Inclusion in Peace Processes

Posted by Louise Olsson & Theodora-Ismene Gizelis on Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Academics and policymakers can probably agree on the need for a more solid research base in order to effectively support the inclusion of women in peace processes. Our chapter in the newly released Oxford Handbook on Women, Peace and Security, argues that improving dialogue among scholars and practitioners requires acknowledging ... Read more »

Where are the Women in Peace Agreement Implementation?

Posted by Louise Olsson & Madhav Joshi on Monday, 29 October 2018

“In 2020, the United Nations, Members States, regional organizations and civil society will mark the 20th anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000). The lead up to this milestone and the anniversary itself, provide important opportunities to highlight and appraise progress and revise strategies…” (S/2018/900, 2018). An upcoming event which sets the ... Read more »

Nuclear Disarmament and The Nobel Peace Prize

Posted by Louise Olsson & Henrik Urdal on Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Since the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Linus Pauling in 1962, contributions to nuclear disarmament have recurrently been an explicit motivation for granting the Prize.1 According to the Nobel Peace Prize committee, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) received the Prize this year for creating new momentum ... Read more »

Alva Myrdal, Research, and Nuclear Disarmament

Posted by Louise Olsson on Monday, 2 October 2017

The time for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize is coming up, and as identified by PRIO’s Director, there are many worthy laureates. 35 years ago, Alva Myrdal (1902-1986) received the prize for her work with nuclear disarmament – a question that has unfortunately resurfaced and is again a likely theme for the peace ... Read more »

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