Operationalizing Gender from an IHL Perspective

Posted: 09/05/2017
Dear Colonel Ehrhart-Duffo, Thank you very much for setting up this opportunity for us to share with each other ideas and suggestions to help promote NATO gender mainstreaming's drive forward to help the Alliance reach the goals set out in UNSCR 1325 and subsequent resolutions. My perspective is limited, and I have really only focused on the operational aspects of NATO gender mainstreaming from an IHL perspective. What I believe at this point in time, however, is that NATO gender mainstreaming seems to be moving forward really from an IHRL perspective. Accordingly, NATO gender mainstreaming risks being irreversibly marginalized -- what is much harder to do is work with gender in kinetic operations where decisions regarding the use of lethal force are being made.I look forward to reading the contributions of my fellow forum members, so that I may broaden my perspective on NATO gender mainstreaming and become informed of the great work that is occuring in so many places on this crucially important topic. I fear, however, that until NATO properly staffs Gender Advisor offices, provides broad operational training to Gender Advisors so that they can be most effective in working on gender issues across the breadth of a NATO operational headquarters staff, and meaningfully works with the TCNs to have them critically review their National Action Plans and rethink their military contributions to them from the perspective of rewriting doctrine, educational curricula, training plans and intelligence gathering and analysis procedures, the development of NATO gender mainstreaming will be stunted and at best, sadly incomplete. Although it concluded that NATO should drive on with gender mainstreaming, the recent FOI analysis of NATO gender mainstreaming showed that as a factual matter in operational settings, the Bi-SC Directive's impact was barely measurable. The problem before us is not just a question of identifying best practices and tweaking slide packets. Unless there is fundamental change in the approach of NATO gender mainstreaming, it will fail to implement the greater protection of women and girls required by UNSR 1325 because it will fail to deal with the impacts of the kinetic use of force upon them in the context of the use of that force, and the enormous infrastructure that allows it to be delivered. Respectfully, Jody M. Prescott