Gender Training and Education

Introduction to Gender

The basis for Gender is United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR)1325 adopted in 2000. 

What is the purpose of this resolution?

First, it highlights the disproportionate impact that armed conflicts have on women and girls. Secondly, it recognises that the contributions of women in the peace-building process has been under-valued and under-utilised.

This Resolution focus on 4 points:

  • protection
  • prevention
  • participation
  • and gender mainstreaming to achieve gender equality

Gender Equality is often misunderstood. In fact, Gender Equality refers to equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities for women and men. Equality does not mean that women and men will become the same, but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born female or male.

For the UN, adopting a gender perspective means:

  • To take into account the special needs of women and girls
  • To support local women’s peace initiatives
  • To ensure the protection and the respect for human rights of women and girls

For NATO, the purpose is to “mainstream gender” into all areas related to current and future operations.

  • First, what does Gender means? Gender is different from Sex. Gender describes the socially constructed roles of men and women (for example in Afghanistan, women take care of children at home while men are responsible for earning money for the family). This is a social-construction. For NATO, integrating a Gender Perspective in military operations begins by conducting a Gender Analysis. Specifically, this is a study of society that highlights the different roles of men and women in a particular conflict area. To adopt a Gender Perspective means to examine an issue from the point of view of men and women and to identify differences in their needs, priorities, & abilities. The aim is then to take into consideration the particular security situation and needs of men and women, and determine how NATO’s actions will effect them. Implementing a Gender Perspective is the action done following this ‘gender analysis’. Awareness of the different security needs of men and women allows the commander and staff to plan and execute operational projects so as to increase the security of the whole population. Providing a comprehensive solution increases operational effectiveness and helps us achieve our mandate.
  • To integrate gender perspective in operations, NATO deploys a comprehensive Gender Structure consisting of: Gender Advisors; (GENADs), Gender Field Advisors (GFAs), and Gender Focal Points (GFPs). The day to day work of a GENAD’s consists of:

-          Advising the commander on gender issues

-          Advising staff officers and ensuring that they take gender issues into account in their day to day work

-          Training at all levels on local gender issues

-          Cooperating with local forces, International Organizations, and Non-Governmental Organizations on gender perspectives.

Major General Crew, commander of the KFOR in 2012

"In peace support operations, like that of KFOR,  the center of gravity usually lies with the population.  It is mission essential to properly address the one half of this population (women) , to understand them and to encourage their support.“

Even in male dominated societies, women not only carry the everyday burdens of daily life, but often also appear to be leaders of grassroots national NGOs, acting for the benefit of the average people.  Their influence on the mood and attitude of the latter should therefore not be underestimated.“