How did it happen that the positions of Gender Advisors were created and Gender Advisors appointed within the NATO military structure?
Following the violent experience of wars in the XX century and changing global context of peace and security, in the late 1990’ women’s groups came together and pushed for gender perspective to be included in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) international peace and security agenda.
In 2000, the UNSC unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security recognizing for the first time that gender inequalities exacerbated during the conflict impede the establishment of sustainable peace and development. The UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions acknowledge the disproportionate impact that armed conflict has on women and children, and calls upon international actors to introduce specific measures to remedy this.
NATO as a political and military regional international organization committed to international peace, sees the integration of gender perspective as one of the methods to improve its operational effectiveness and to provide the most adequate response to the crisis.
"Recognizing the urgent need to mainstream a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations"
(United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325)
In 2007, NATO and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) adopted its first policy on the implementation of UNSCR 1325. The policy paved the way for further integration of gender perspective and gender balance within NATO military and civilian structure, and gender mainstreaming within the NATO policies and programmes. In 2010 the North Atlantic Council adopted the first result-oriented NATO Action Plan for the implementation of the NATO/EAPC Policy on Women, Peace and Security, which is revised every two years. Finally, in 2012 the NATO Secretary General appointed a first NATO Special Representative for Women, Peace, and Security – the position held by Mrs. Clare Hutchinson as of January 18th, 2018.
Whereas the above-mentioned developments occurred at the political level, the adoption of the Bi-SC Directive 40-1 in 2009 further revised in 2012, was a milestone achievement for the NATO military component. The Directive gives clear guidelines and instructions for the implementation of the Resolution 1325 for all levels of the NATO military structure. It also provides for the integration of gender perspective into NATO planning, operations, missions, education, training, exercises and evaluation, and for gender mainstreaming in all NATO policies and programmes in all areas and at all levels. The implementation goes well only together with the institutionalisation, and the latter could only be achieved through the establishment of gender advisory positions throughout the organization. Therefore, the Directive establishes and clarifies the role of Gender Advisors and Gender Focal Points, who are responsible for providing an advice and operational support on the implementation of the Resolution 1325 to the Commander and NATO personnel.
NATO defines gender as the social attributes associated with being male and female learned through socialisation and determines a person’s position and value in a given context. Given that social value and positions are always defined and negotiated between men, women, boys and girls, gender does not exclusively refer to women.
Gender, together with other factors such as ethnicity, religion, age and economic situation shape and regulate social relationships, expected behavioural norms, and gendered roles within a given community that will expose men, women, boys and girls to different threats to a different degree, depending on a variety of factors. The vulnerability of particular groups within a community is exacerbated when it comes to particular forms of violence, for instance women and children. Therefore, understanding such intersecting factors and social dynamics within a population or community is crucial for understanding how the security needs of different groups develop and change, and how will military operations and armed conflict affect them.
This understanding is crucial for the effective analysis, planning, conduct, and evaluation of military operations. Armed conflicts and crisis situations create different gendered experiences for men, women, boys and girls; their security needs will be different and they will be affected differently by NATO and NATO-led military operations. NATO uses the integration of gender perspective as a way of assessing gender-based differences between women and men as reflected in their social roles and interactions, in the distribution of power and access to resources.
The primary job of the Gender Advisors is to provide guidance and advice to NATO commanders on how to integrate gender perspective into operations and missions, crisis and conflict analysis, concepts, doctrine, procedures, and education and training. Even though there are these specialists working with a gender perspective within the command and force structure, it is always the responsibility of the Commander to make sure that a gender perspective is properly integrated.
Gender Advisors also represent the Office of Primary Responsibility regarding United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and related Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. Please see the ‘Women, Peace and Security’ for more information.
Gender Advisors are supported in their work by Gender Focal Points (GFP), the Gender Advisors’ ‘eyes and ears on the ground’. GFPs are located in each division of the respective Headquarter.
The position of a Gender Advisor at HQ Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) is placed within the Staff Advisory Group to the SACT. The HQ SACT Gender Advisor provides a direct support and reports to both SACT, and the Joint Force Trainer (JFT). There are several acting Focal Points for gender mainstreaming within the HQ SACT directorates and branches. The HQ SACT Gender Advisor works alone, unless temporarily supported by an intern. The Gender Advisor also acts as a Children and Armed Conflict Focal Point within the HQ SACT.
Women’s rights organisations have always been very active in making sure that the protection of women and children is on and remains part of the international agenda. First, during the course of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, women’s organisations have successfully lobbied for the inclusion of wartime rape and sexual violence against women on the agenda. As a result, the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action has reaffirmed that women’s rights are human rights and that sexual violence against women is a dire violation of these. Second, the 1995 Beijing Platform, with an exceptionally large number of NGO representatives present, has included “Women and Armed Conflict” as one of its twelve strategic objectives and actions.
As a culmination of the efforts of NGOs, various UN bodies, and the contribution of a number of smaller member states and non-permanent members of the Security Council, including Namibia, Bangladesh, Jamaica, Mali, and Canada, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1325, a landmark resolution on women, peace and security on 31 October 2000.
Resolution 1325 has three fundamental pillars to implementing the work on women peace and security:
The UNSCR 1325 states that the method to achieve protection, prevention and participation is through gender mainstreaming of all activities. This means that a gender perspective should be used in all activities in order to address the whole population (men, women, boys and girls).
Currently, there are eight resolutions on the topic of Women, Peace and Security. The landmark resolution 1325 came in 2000 but the progress with the implementation was slow. Seven more resolutions were adopted from 2008 and forward to promote the implementation of the original UNSCR 1325.
UNSCR 1325 (2000): Prevention, protection and participation
UNSCR 1820 (2008): Protection against sexual violence (systematic)
UNSCR 1888 (2009): Reaffirms the importance of 1325 and 1820
UNSCR 1889 (2009): Peace building, anniversary of 1325 & indicators
UNSCR 1960 (2010): Monitoring and reporting system on CRSV
UNSCR 2106 (2013): Need for gender education and gender advisors, and CRSGBV recognized as affecting boys and men as well
UNSCR 2122 (2013): Female Participation, gaps in WPS implementation
UNSCR 2242 (2015): Addressed women’s role in countering terrorism
Furthermore, while they are not part of the WPS framework, it is important to mention two additional resolutions:
UNSCR 2272 (2016): Sexual exploitation and abuse in peace operations
UNSCR 2331 (2016): First resolution on human trafficking and its impact
The implementation of these Resolutions is governed by a variety of documents in NATO, please see ‘NATO Key documents’ for more information.
In 2007, NATO and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) adopted its first policy on the implementation of UNSCR 1325. The policy paved the way for further integration of gender perspective and gender balance within NATO military and civilian structure, and gender mainstreaming within the NATO policies and programmes. In 2010 the North Atlantic Council adopted the first result-oriented NATO/EAPC Action Plan for the implementation of the revised NATO/EAPC Policy for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and Related Resolutions.
The NATO/EAPC Action Plan supports greater synergy and more effective implementation of UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions through cooperation with and between international organisations. The Plan also contains the integration of UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions into curricula of training and education activities at all levels. Such integrated gender training should also include modules on analytical methods and approaches for understanding the level of risks for conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, as well as modules on how to counter such behaviour, including measures that take the protection needs of the civilian population into account, in particular the needs of women and girls.
Finally, in 2012 the NATO Secretary General appointed a first NATO Special Representative for Women, Peace, and Security.
Whereas the above-mentioned developments occurred at the political level, the adoption of the Bi-SC Directive 40-1 in 2009 further revised in 2012 and in 2017, was a milestone achievement for the NATO military component. The Directive gives clear guidelines and instructions for the implementation of the United Nations Council Resolution 1325 for all levels of the NATO military structure. The directive provides guidance on the effective and continued practical implementation and institutionalization of gender perspective in all activities within the Strategic Commands. In line with the NATO/EAPC Action Plan (see slide above), the document draws attention to the integration of gender perspectives both internally within NATO forces and externally with regard to the operations and missions. It highlights the integration of gender perspective as an operational tool to be used at all levels and at all stages of operational analysis, planning, conduct and evaluation, in order to enhance Operational Effectiveness and Situational Awareness. The directive also details the utility of integrating gender perspective in the development of gender-related Early Warning Indicators that may provide assistance in identifying and preventing emerging conflicts or security threats (e.g. the accumulation of weapons caches and ammunition; women in the local communities are often aware of the location and existence of such proliferation. Another indicator of rising tension and potentiality of violence is the increasing tendency of domestic violence or violence against women signaling the instability of a community or society.) Crucially, the revised version of the directive operationalises MCM-0009-2015 Military Guidelines on the Prevention of, and Response to, Conflict-related Sexual and Gender-Based Violence; providing advice on understanding the dire impact CR-SGBV has on peacebuilding efforts, and practical solutions to preventing/addressing CR-SGBV. Lastly, the directive also puts forward a proposed NATO-wide Standards of Behaviour and Code of Conduct for the reference of commanders, while emphasizing that the Standards of Behaviour and Code of Conduct is not currently enforceable. Personnel are bound by the regulations outlined by their respective Troop Contributing Nations, and the nations have the authority for taking disciplinary action. Nevertheless, commanders are free to impose stricter regulations than those outlined by the Bi-SC Directive 40-1 Rev 2. Furthermore, the directive outlines the tasks and roles of the Gender Advisor (GENAD) and the Gender Focal Point (GFP). It explains why Gender Advisors (GENADs) are needed to ensure that gender is an integrated part of the planning of operations, how they can contribute to mission success, while emphasizing that the integration of gender perspective should not be a separate, one-time occasion, but an integral part and continuous effort by all personnel. GENAD positions are full-time positions that require adequate training, education and experience.
HQ SACT supports NATO Nations and Partners in their efforts to deliver an education and training. Based on the Training Needs Analysis, HQ SACT has developed in 2015 and updated in 2017, with the full support of the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations (NCGM) as a Department Head, a package of training materials known as Gender Education and Training Package for Nations.
The Gender Education and Training Package for Nations is provided as guidance to nations and partners, offering best practice examples and advice from different nations on the institutionalization of gender perspective. It is a training tool composed of the series of Power Point presentations”. The Power Point presentation constitutes a major tool with detailed guidelines for instructors on how to proceed with the lesson. It is important to remember that these are only guidelines on how the material can be presented, but when used, it should be tailored to the specific training audience.
The package is designed to support the increased awareness on gender perspective in military operations and to assist NATO Allies and Partners to build their gender capacity and capabilities and successfully integrate gender perspective within the three core tasks of the alliance: collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security.
The Gender Education and Training Package for Nations has three modules:
Every module consists of two lessons. At the strategic-operational and tactical levels the lessons have been broadly divided into the categories per individual training audience and are considered to be ‘standalone’. The pre-deployment module builds upon knowledge from one lesson to the next and is to be treated as a single module with two dependent lessons, while also including a short presentation with the essentials to cover.
In 2017 HQ SACT added 3 more modules on gender perspective and terrorism with a specific focus on
Please find the whole package below.
Examples of Integrating the Gender Perspective in Standing Operating Procedures (SOP)
On 22 February 2013, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Gender Education and Training between the Swedish Armed Forces, Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT) and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) was signed by the Swedish Chief of Defence. The MOU serves as a blueprint for co-operation by formalising the designation of the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations (NCGM) as Department Head (DH) for the delivery of all Gender Education and Training.
As the NATO DH for gender education and training, the NCGM, under HQ SACT guidance: