The way we conduct war and peace is completely changed.
We need a more diverse core of soldiers.
Minister of Defense of Norway 
In recent decades, the nature of war has changed dramatically. Internal conflicts are being waged by opposing armed groups, often divided along ideological or ethnic lines that increasingly target civilians and wreak havoc on society with severe physical, psychological, social, political, and economic consequences.
With the changed nature of conflict has come an increasing demand to consider its varied effects on women and girls, men and boys, and to address their specific needs before, during, and after conflict. There is also an increasing awareness of the importance of including women in peace and security processes. Women are 50 percent of the population and a critical part of society and, without them, real and sustainable peace cannot be achieved. They are not merely victims of conflict; they also play active roles as combatants, peace builders, politicians, and activists, and are often in the strongest position to bring about peace in their communities. Women around the world have emerged as voices of peace, mobilizing across communities and using their social roles and networks to mediate and mitigate violence. They have demanded attention to the complex issues of peace and peace building, and the needs of the communities involved, rather than to just cease-fires and power sharing.
The international community has responded with a framework for addressing women, peace, and security, which includes United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions and binding international law. Regional bodies such as the European Union, NATO, and the African Union have also developed strong frameworks around gender equality and women’s rights in order to build sustainable peace, driven by advocacy by women’s groups and the experiences of conflict.
With these changes has also come a paradigm shift in the concept of security from one of state security to human security. Whereas traditionally security involved the protection of borders and state sovereignty, the modern concept of security addresses the security of individuals and communities. It broadens both the nature of security threats such as poverty, discrimination, gender-based violence, lack of democracy and marginalization, and the actors involved, including non-state actors and civil society. It means creating societies that can withstand instability and conflict. It is more than the absence of armed conflict; it is an environment where individuals can thrive.
A security sector that is based in human security takes into account the differing needs of men, women, boys, and girls, and ensures that the full and equal participation of women addresses the needs of all of the population and helps to establish a more peaceful and secure society.
Integrating a gender perspective into the security sector is essential: 1) to abide by universally accepted human rights principles; 2) because when both men and women are involved in decision-making processes, there are better outcomes; and 3) using gender perspectives and mainstreaming increases operational effectiveness.
The Women, Peace and Security Framework
United Nations Security Council Resolutions and International Law
The civil wars that raged in the 1990s showed the world how conflict was transforming. The genocide in Rwanda and the rape camps of Bosnia proved that the nature of conflict and its ravaging effects on women needed to be addressed urgently. At the 1995 UN-sponsored Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, women from around the world came together and, for the first time, there was a concerted focus on women’s experience in war. This resulted in a dedicated chapter on Women and Armed Conflict in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. It was a turning point and a call to action for women. In the years that followed, a global network of women, especially those who had been affected by conflict, worked at local, national, and international levels to call for peace and security for women. In 2000, a global group of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) launched a worldwide appeal for the UN Security Council to formally recognize women’s rights, to promote their participation in all peace and security processes, and to protect them in times of conflict. With the support of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the governments of Bangladesh, Jamaica, Canada, and eventually the United Kingdom, women’s advocacy resulted in the Security Council’s passage of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (2000).
UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and its companion resolutions UNSCR 1820 (2008), UNSCR1888 (2009), UNSCR 1889 (2009), UNSCR 1960 (2010), UNSCR 2016 (2013), and UNSCR 2122 (2013) (collectively referred to herein as 1325, the 1325 framework, or women, peace, and security framework) provide an internationally-recognized legal framework for promoting gender equality in peace and security, ensuring the participation of women in all levels of decision-making, protecting women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence, improving the prevention of violence against women, and integrating gender perspectives in all processes. They stress the need for better security sector responses to the effects of modern conflict and address all aspects of peace and security processes including peace negotiations, peacekeeping, political participation, response to sexual violence in armed conflict, judicial and legal reform as well as security sector reform. Entry points for implementation in the security sector include national and regional security policies and action plans, women’s participation in security sector reform processes, defense reform, police reform, transitional justice, justice reform, and peacekeeping operations.
UNSCR 1325 calls at all times for all parties in conflict to respect all international law applicable to the rights and protection of women and girls. It incorporates binding international law on the rights and protection of women and children such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Geneva Conventions, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Rome Statute of the International Court, which criminalizes sexual violence in conflict, among other laws, such as the United Nations Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. It also specifically recognizes the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which is an agenda for gender equality and women’s empowerment that aims to remove all obstacles to women’s active participation in public and private life through a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural, and political decision-making.
All UN Member States are bound by UNSCR 1325 and the international human rights treaties to which they are party. The Security Council itself has made clear, by passing six women, peace and security resolutions, that it is issuing a direct call to action to States, the UN itself, and to all parties involved in armed conflict.
Regional Policy Initiatives
In addition to the UN, regional bodies in Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas have adopted treaties, laws, policies, and action plans in support of women, peace and security.
The African Union’s (AU) Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, known as the Maputo Protocol, guarantees comprehensive rights to women. Informed by the experiences of women in countries affected by conflict, it also contains specific provisions on the participation of women in peace processes and the protection of women in armed conflicts.
The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) 
has a strong, legally binding framework that specifically names and addresses the principles of 1325 on the protection and promotion of the rights of women and children as critical to peace and security. The ICGLR especially views sexual and gender-based violence as a priority, crosscutting issue affecting peace, security, development, and good governance. Its policy framework includes the Great Lakes Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region (2006), which includes ten protocols that are legally binding, several of which address issues of gender equality and sexual and gender-based violence.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) adopted a Conflict Prevention Framework in 2008 to serve as a strategic framework for improving conflict prevention and human security with a component on women, peace and security.
The European Union (EU) has developed a normative framework that includes the Council Conclusions on Promoting Gender Equality and Gender Mainstreaming in Crisis Management (2006); the 2008 Comprehensive approach to the EU implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 
on women, peace and security and EU Council Secretariat operational paper “Implementation of UNSCR 1325 as reinforced by UNSCR 1820 in the context of ESDP (European Security and Defense Policy).
” In July 2010 the Council adopted indicators to measure progress on the implementation of 1325 and 1820.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has an Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality on 1325 (2004) and included elements of 1325 in its 2003 Strategy to Address Threats to Security and Stability in the Twenty-First Century. The Ministerial Council Decision No. 14/05 on Women in Conflict Prevention, Crisis Management and Post-Conflict Rehabilitation (2005) reinforces the Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality and calls for measures related to implementation of 1325.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has established a policy framework on women, peace and security. After a series of recommendations from the Committee on Women in NATO Forces (now Committee on Gender Perspectives), in September 2009 it adopted a Directive on integrating UNSCR 1325 and Gender Perspectives in the NATO Command Structure Including Measures for Protection During Armed Conflict. This included the creation of gender advisors in all missions and pre-deployment training. The Secretary General established the position of Special Representative on Women, Peace and Security in 2012 to raise awareness, coordinate efforts, and enhance cooperation on the women, peace and security agenda. In April 2014 NATO released its revised Policy on Women, Peace and Security, developed with the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). Afghanistan, Australia, Japan, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates also participated in its development. It builds on the previous NATO/ EAPC policy and on experiences and lessons learned from, in particular, cooperative security and NATO-led operations.
The Pacific Community’s Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2015 provides a framework at the regional level for Forum Members 
and Pacific Territories to enhance women and young women’s leadership in conflict prevention and peace building, mainstream gender in security policy-making, and ensure women and girls’ human rights are protected in humanitarian crises, transitional contexts, and post-conflict situations.
The Organization of American States, while not having a normative framework specifically on women, peace and security, does have the InterAmerican Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Para) (1994).
National Action Plans
The UN and advocates have called for countries to create National Action Plans (NAPs) in order to address implementation of the 1325 framework. These are national policy documents that detail how government bodies and stakeholders tasked with security, foreign policy, development, and gender equality will actually carry out the 1325 principles both within their own countries and in their foreign policies during times of both peace and conflict. To date, 48 states have enacted NAPs and Afghanistan is preparing to launch its own.
Comprehensive NAPS establish a multi-sector strategy for implementation of the 1325 framework and assign specific responsibilities to government bodies, civil society organizations, private sector institutions, and development partners; cover the four pillars of 1325, which are participation, protection, prevention, and gender mainstreaming; provide for the coordination, follow-up, and evaluation of implementation activities; and include budget estimates for activities to be integrated into institutional plans of actions and budgets.
Security and Gender
When we undercut the contributions of one gender we do so at our on peril… denying ourselves half the talent, half the resources, half the potential of the population. And as we approach future challenges we must think rather than fight our way through, we need to be able to leverage all of the best thinking out there.
General Martin E. Dempsey
Chairman, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff 
is the biological difference between men and women. Gender
refers to the societal construction of roles, personality traits, and behaviors ascribed to them, as well as the different power relations between men and women.Gender mainstreaming
recognizes the role of gender integration in peace and security, as well as the understanding of differences that policies and programs might have on men and women.
It means identifying the different insecurities facing men, women, girls, and boys and the way in which gender relation and power inequalities fuel insecurity. This understanding of gender leads to better policies and outcomes. It is key to the effectiveness and accountability of the security sector and necessary to comply with international and regional laws. Its ultimate goal is to promote gender equality in society by ensuring that both men and women are represented in all processes and that all programs integrate the human rights of all persons.
Men, women, boys, and girls have different experiences and different security needs. For example, in the United States more than 85 % of victims of gun homicide are male,
a statistic that is echoed throughout the world. On the other hand, approximately 95 % of victims of domestic violence are women.
Globally, at least 35 % of women have experienced intimate partner violence, up to 60 % in some countries.
In many countries, women are vulnerable to attack near water points, in agricultural areas and during elections.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is violence related to gender differences that result in unequal roles and power relations. It includes domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, human trafficking, and anti-gay violence. It is widespread in many countries due to cultural norms that perpetuate the subordination of women and vulnerable groups. It is one of the greatest threats to human security.
The medical, physical, and psychological effects of sexual and gender-based violence are enormous. Unwanted pregnancies, intentionally transmitted HIV/AIDS, permanent physical scarring, medical and emotional trauma, as well as stigma are all results of the sexual and physical violence perpetrated against women. In countries such as Uganda, where the clan system is strong, the community often shuns women who were abducted and impregnated by rebels, and their children are left without a clan. In countries that apply strict Sharia law, women are often punished or killed to “protect their honor.”
During war, civilians are most affected by violence and insecurity. Women, especially those heading households, are most vulnerable when public security diminishes and the security forces that exist become abusive. Corruption and impunity lead to many human rights abuses, and often result in sexual violence against women. After conflict, women continue to suffer spousal violence, sexual abuse, rape, physical assault and violence, and psychological abuse. Economic violence is often included under the rubric of GBV. This includes denial of access to food and property, husbands withholding resources for family care, inheritance disputes between a widow and her husband’s family over his property, as well as acute economic dependence of women on their husbands. Many women are unable to support themselves and are less able to escape violent relationships. Sexual violence has been a major factor in the spread of HIV/AIDS. Women who are HIV positive are also at a greater risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
GBV has a major effect not only on women but also on families and communities, and on national development. The effects of violence often keep girls out of school or prevent women from participating in the community or workplace.
Men and boys are also victims of GBV, and may face even greater barriers than women in reporting it and seeking justice.
Despite the prevalence of GBV and its threat to national and global security, security sector initiatives to address it are usually not prioritized and are underfunded. Gender sensitive security improves prevention and response to GBV by including women and training personnel on issues of gender and gender-based violence.
There is also a growing recognition of the need to address the particular experience of men and boys, both as victims and sources of insecurity. Increasingly groups are examining masculinity: the characteristics and behaviors expected of men and the way that they are socialized. This includes analyzing the factors that lead men to violence and the factors that help prevent it. Conditions such as male youth violence, gangs, and child abuse influence the way that men behave. Both inside and outside of armed conflict, gun culture is overwhelmingly associated with cultural norms of masculinity, including men as protectors and warriors.
Men themselves become victims of their own mentalities as they are most affected by gun violence. Military environments have perpetuated these notions of masculinity and war exacerbates them, leading to extreme violence. Nuclear weapons are also an emblem of strength and dominance.
In addition, a militarized society puts women more at risk. According to Reaching Critical Will, a program of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom:
Irresponsible transfers of weaponry, munitions, armaments, and related equipment across borders have resulted in acts of GBV perpetrated by both state and non-state actors. Thus in the recent negotiations of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), civil society organizations and like-minded governments worked together to ensure that the treaty included a legally-binding provision on preventing armed gender-based violence.
Engaging Men 
Successful programs run by organizations such as CARE, Promundo, and the Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC) in the region have programs targeted specifically at men that aim to deconstruct typical ideas of masculinity and educate men on gender equality and women’s rights. CARE works to involve men in joint strategies with their wives to manage resources and share domestic, parenting, and income earning roles. Role model families show their communities that they are living well because they have equality and peace in their homes. In several countries, including Rwanda, Promundo has carried out the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), a comprehensive household questionnaire on men’s attitudes and practices—along with women’s opinions and reports of men’s practices—on a wide variety of topics related to gender equality, which has been used to inform programs to engage men in gender equality and GBV prevention, also in post-conflict settings. Promundo has also implemented a program that promotes men’s support of women’s economic empowerment. RWAMREC mobilizes men to change perceptions of masculinity and promote gender justice through programs of men-to-men education, community mobilization, radio programs, working with religious leaders, and through programs engaging men to support women in microfinance.
The ATT, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on April 2, 2013 and entered into force December 24, 2014, is the first international treaty to recognize the link between weapons and gender-based violence. Article 7(4) of the treaty obligates exporting state parties to take into account the risk of the conventional arms, ammunition, munitions, parts, or components under consideration being used to commit or facilitate acts of gender-based violence. States shall not be permitted to authorize the transfer where there is a risk of gender-based violence that would constitute a violation of international humanitarian law or international human rights law, undermine peace and security, or form part of transnational organized crime.
Men and women also have different access to resources such as land, money, education, healthcare, and political power, which can affect their individual security. In many countries women do not have equal rights to men to own land, have limited access to credit, face barriers to education and adequate healthcare, and are excluded or marginalized from political life, all of which make them more dependent and vulnerable.
Including both men and women in security policymaking is critical to policies that are comprehensive in their assessment of security threats and in their understanding of security providers, and thus provide more secure and stable environments. Dialogues with local groups might identify the need for specific initiatives such as installing more streetlights and enacting community policing to larger scale programs such as training police and military personnel on GBV prevention and response, implementing zero tolerance policies for sexual harassment and abuse, increasing female participation, and collaboration with civil society organizations.
A New Paradigm of Security
The world can never be at peace unless people have security in their daily lives. Future conflicts may often be within nations rather than between them – with their origins buried deep in growing socio-economic deprivation and disparities. The search for security in such a milieu lies in development, not in arms.
1994 Human Development Report 
Conflict is no longer merely about securing borders and maintaining sovereignty; it is also about human security. Nations cannot be secure if their people are not secure. Where there is inequality and discrimination, violence, poverty, lack of education, lack of economic opportunity, political oppression, and other destabilizing factors, there is a risk of conflict.
The human security approach broadens the scope of security analysis and policy from territorial security to the security of people.
It was introduced in 1994 by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report (HDR) and highlights two major components of human security: freedom from fear and freedom from want. It recognizes that states will not be able to achieve their major goals—including peace, human rights and democratization—without human security. The threats to human security are no longer just local or national, but rather global. Drugs, HIV/AIDS and other health epidemics, human trafficking, gender-based violence, poverty, environmental disasters, displacement of populations, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and violent extremism do not respect national borders. They affect the world.
In 2012 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on human security 
that recognizes the links between development, human rights, and peace and security, stating that human security calls for people-centered, comprehensive, context-specific, and prevention-oriented responses that strengthen the protection and empowerment of all people and all communities.
For most people today, a feeling of insecurity arises more from worries about daily life. Job security, income security, health security, environmental security, and security from crime: these are the emerging concerns of human security all over the world.
A critical regional and global concern is the growing rise in violent extremism. A lack of personal security is an important element in this phenomenon. Extremist groups such as Da’esh (ISIS) have capitalized on recruitment methods that prey on individuals—people who have been marginalized and oppressed, and lack economic opportunities and hope—by distorting religious tenants, playing on religious and ethnic divides, and offering money, food, shelter, cell phones, protection, women, and glory in the afterlife.
An inclusive, accountable security sector that integrates gender can promote development, rule of law and good governance, strengthen human security, and reduce the risk of armed conflict. The creation of a professional security sector that is democratically accountable, well-managed, and responsive to the needs of all citizens leads to better provision of security and justice for all.
Effective security operations establish a safe and secure environment that is conducive to economic development, education and health care, and the growth of a vibrant civil society. These goals can only be achieved if women are as equally involved as men in shaping policies and programs.
UNSCR 1325 calls for an increase in the participation of women at all levels of decision making, including in national, regional and international institutions, and in peace operations as soldiers, police, and civilian personnel, as well as for women’s participation in mechanisms for the management and resolution of conflict. Around the world women have been agents of change, peacemakers and peace builders bringing perspectives to the table that address the root causes of insecurity. Women have a fundamental role to play in increasing the operational effectiveness of the security sector and establishing sustainable peace and security globally.
Women in Security Forces
Women in the security forces—military, police, paramilitary, and intelligence—can affect institutional and cultural change from the inside. Research in the U.S. and around the world shows that uniformed women are more likely than their male counterparts to de-escalate tensions and are less likely to use excessive force.
Their increased presence and leadership also tends to lessen the culture of sexual exploitation that is prevalent in many military and police forces. Therefore, it is important to have a strong presence of women, especially in leadership positions, to bring a gender perspective to discussions on security processes.
Increasing the number of women police officers also improves responses to crimes involving domestic and sexual violence, which are among the most prevalent crimes in both post-conflict and non-conflict affected societies. Afghanistan, Kosovo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have established specialized police forces to address family violence.
In many instances, especially where women have been part of liberation struggles, such as in Rwanda and Uganda, women have skills and understanding of issues that can benefit security institutions, especially with regard to forces’ relations with the community. It would therefore be valuable to recruit and support them in various areas of the sector.
Moreover, women security personnel are often more trusted by local communities, which perceive them as less threatening. A 2012 study by the Institute for Inclusive Security commissioned by NATO’s Committee on Gender Perspectives reported that interviewees in Congo and Chad were more accepting of European Union (EUFOR) patrols that included women, evidenced by fewer residents throwing stones at passing troops comprised of both men and women. They also observed that British units using Female Engagement Teams (FETS) were less frequently ambushed and experienced fewer improvised explosive devices (IED) attacks than male patrols.
Some cultures limit women’s interaction with men outside of their families. Because female personnel are often uniquely able to communicate with women in the general community, police and military forces with female members can gain a more comprehensive picture of the entire community’s needs. They can learn about the nature and extent of threatening situations such as gang violence and recruitment, arms buildups, troop movement, discrimination and marginalization in communities, gender-based violence, human trafficking, intimidation and extortion by organized crime, and drug use in schools.
Female police, border guards, and military officers can also perform critical duties that may be difficult for men for cultural reasons, such as searching women at security checkpoints, searching for weapons by entering homes and talking to women, searching and interrogating women, and assisting survivors of sexual violence.
Many documented cases also illustrate that women are often better able to engage men. A 2009 study of five of NATO’s Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan found that negotiations conducted by female soldiers are more successful than those conducted by male soldiers, that informants in some places divulge more information to Western women than to Western men, and that it is often more appropriate for female soldiers to address issues related to women with local tribal leaders than for male soldiers to do so.
Women in Government
Parliaments provide democratic oversight of the security sector. Women parliamentarians can play a key role in demanding accountability and transparency of the security sector, determining budgets and policies to ensure that military expenditures do not take resources from developmental issues, ensuring inclusive representation in security structures, and including public debate and dialogue on these issues.
In many countries, military laws discriminate against women, prohibiting them from combat and imposing barriers to advancement in rank. In 2000 the Israeli Parliament adopted an amendment to the Security Service Law drafted by women parliamentarians, which granted women equal rights to men to serve in any role in the military. In the United States, women lawmakers have been at the forefront of passing reforms in recent defense authorizations laws that address issues of sexual assault in the military.
Women parliamentarians have also been instrumental in many countries in passing legislation addressing human security as required by the women, peace and security framework and international law, such as legislation related to political participation, gender-based violence, family, children, land rights, education, health care, employment, citizenship and nationality, and refugee and internally displaced persons laws and policies.
In Rwanda, for example, in 1996 women parliamentarians formed the Rwanda Women Parliamentary Forum (FFRP), which was the first parliamentary caucus to reach across party lines and include Hutus and Tutsis at a critical time of healing after the genocide. It focused on issues of women’s security, passing laws on women’s rights to inherit property 
and on gender-based violence. In Uganda, women parliamentarians have also been active in promoting legislation specifically related to obligations under the country’s National Action plan on UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 and the Goma Declaration on Eradicating Sexual Violence and Ending Impunity in the Great Lakes Region (2008-2014). In 2010, Uganda adopted laws on domestic violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), trafficking in persons, and allowing Ugandan Courts to try crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide, including sexual violence as defined under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Women in ministries and high-level government positions can also influence security and defense policy and bring together women and men from the security sector, as well as engage civil society in dialogues and ensure that national policies related to security integrate gender perspectives.
Women in the Justice Sector
The increased participation of women in the justice sector as judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, paralegals, and court administrators strengthens the legitimacy of the judiciary and make courts more accessible to the communities they serve. In cases of gender-based violence, female victims may be more comfortable dealing with women lawyers and judges. Women also often promote principles of equality and nondiscrimination. Women’s lawyers groups, for instance, have been instrumental in assisting women, promoting gender equality and challenging discriminatory laws in countries around the world. The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Uganda), for example, established legal aid clinics in Northern Uganda where clients pay only case registration fees and are assisted with mediation or, if necessary, court filings. This includes mobile clinics that go out to communities to register and, where possible, mediate cases. In other instances they engage in strategic litigation or public interest litigation, which involve cases brought on behalf of the public or a broad group of people alleging rights violations and seeking legal reform.
Women’s participation in transitional justice processes that seek to promote justice and reconciliation is an important factor in addressing human rights abuses after conflict. In countries such as Sierra Leone, East Timor, and South Africa, women have been involved in dialogues to establish truth commissions that are gender sensitive and inclusive, and address women’s needs.
In countries where customary or local justice systems are prevalent, women have been instrumental in working with community and religious leaders to sensitize them to gender equality and women’s rights principles, applicable domestic laws, and regional and international instruments.
Women in Civil Society
The 1325 framework mandates that women’s civil society groups be consulted in peace and security processes in order to adequately address the needs of communities. Women in civil society play critical roles in building inclusive and sustainable security. They can serve as a link between the realities of community insecurities that men and women experience and the police and military forces as well as defense policymakers, parliamentarians, and others conducting oversight and implementation of security programs. Women help sensitize them to security issues and provide information about how programs and policies impact women and their families. Women and groups working on gender also provide important technical expertise. Increasing collaboration between security sector institutions and civil society organizations can help build capacity through training, research, and technical assistance on gender.
Women provide important knowledge about security issues within their communities. Because of their position and relationship in families and communities, they know what is going on. In performing their daily duties—caring for children, observing husbands and men in the community, traveling on foot to gather water or firewood—they often see and hear things that are happening in the community. They may be aware of weapons buildups, meetings of armed groups, and the recruitment of youth. They know when there are barriers to health care or education, or health risks within the community. They understand when their own security is at risk through limited mobility, discrimination, and gender-based violence.
Additionally, because women are typically perceived as being less threatening than men, they frequently have access that is denied to male leaders.
In Uganda, Betty Bigombe was the chief point person in talks between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army headed by Joseph Kony. A member of the Ugandan Parliament, in 1998 she was tasked with seeking a peaceful end to the violent conflict in Northern Uganda. Bigombe reached out to Kony and initiated talks that brought the rebel leaders and government ministers face to face for the first time.
She was able to initiate contact with Kony by working through women associated with the LRA to build trust with his commanders. More recently, in countries like Somalia and Syria, women have been able to go between clans or through checkpoints to negotiate local ceasefire agreements to allow humanitarian aid to pass through and enable students to return to school.
Women’s civil society organizations also provide necessary services to victims in partnership with the security sector, such as shelter, legal advice, health care, and psychosocial services. For instance, the Rwanda Women Network has established several Polyclinics of Hope throughout Rwanda, adopting a holistic approach to the plight of women survivors of sexual and gender-based violence by addressing their health, psychosocial, shelter, and socio-economic needs in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. Beneficiaries include current cases of sexual and gender-based violence, widows, orphaned and vulnerable children, and people living with HIV/AIDS. Women’s organizations also help implement security sector reform in their communities and have been important partners in programs of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of combatants into communities (DDR). In Liberia, the Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET) stepped in when the UN system was overwhelmed. Because of their trust in local women, many combatants decided to disarm for them.
Women also play a critical role in combating the current rise in political and religious extremism. In countries such as Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan women have been at the forefront of advocating for peace, reaching across political, ethnic, and religious divides to bring communities together and addressing the root social causes that are leading to a rise in violent extremism, such as poverty, marginalization, lack of opportunity, and insecurity. In addition, because of the influence they have within their families, in many instances they are able to keep their sons and husbands from joining extremist groups. Women are also working with communities, religious leaders, and militants to rewrite the narratives that are used by groups such as Da’esh and the Taliban, which distort Islam for their own purposes.
Integrating Gender into the Security Sector
Security sector reform (SSR) is necessary to promote peace and good governance, prevent conflict, and rebuild societies after conflict. The term “security sector reform” is most often used in post-conflict contexts. However, security sector reform also takes place in developing countries and countries in transition from authoritarian rule. It is also applicable to developed countries that need to change or improve policies and programs to ensure that women and gender perspectives are included in all of their diplomatic, development, and defense efforts. Security sector reform is about making the security sector more effective, accountable, transparent, and compliant with international standards on human rights, democracy, and governance.
Enacting reforms to integrate gender perspectives into the security sector through gender mainstreaming and equal participation are a critical part of security sector reform in all countries.
Three components make up the security sector: (1) groups with the authority and instruments to use force such as the military, police, paramilitary, and intelligence services; (2) institutions that monitor and manage the sector including parliament, government ministries, and civil society; and (3) structures responsible for maintaining the rule of law such as the judiciary, ministry of justice, prisons, human rights commissions, and local and traditional justice mechanisms.
Example of Gender Integration: Genderforce Sweden
Sweden has shown success in incorporating gender-sensitive policies into its security reform. In 2003, the Swedish Armed Forces established a national project based on implementation of UNSCR 1325 called Genderforce, which facilitated a partnership of a range of Swedish groups from various sectors focusing not only on increasing women’s participation in security forces, but also on incorporating gender perspectives into security training, strategy, and operations.
- · Swedish Armed Forces
- · Swedish Police
- · Swedish Rescue Services Agency
- · Kvinna till Kvinna (“Woman to Woman,” a women’s civil society organization)
- · Association of Military Officers in Sweden
- · Swedish Women’s Voluntary Defense Organization
The initiative consisted of eight projects to promote gender balance and integrate gender:
- Increasing female recruitment in partner organizations through altering recruitment methods.
- Carrying out a gender analysis of government policies and enacting changes to ensure that missions have clear directives on gender equality and participation of women, including working with local women’s organizations and assessingsecurity threats to women.
- Conducting a study of civil-military relations in the field and making recommendations to improve cooperation.
- Developing a gender advisory training program in order to create a pool of gender advisors for international operations.
- Implementing a gender coaching program for twelve senior officials.
- Providing training for personnel in international operations on how to recognize signs of human trafficking.
- Developing gender training for the armed forces.
- Carrying out a study of best practices of including local women in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of military and humanitarian operations in order to integrate the findings into pre-deployment training.
There are four dimensions of security sector reform: political, institutional, economic, and societal. Factors to be measured include: the number and percentage of women in the police and military forces and in the judiciary and court system, the number of staff trained on gender issues, the status of women within security personnel (in terms of pay, benefits, advancement potential, sexual harassment, etc.), the number and percentage of operations with gender advisors or focal points, the number of cases of sexual abuse by security personnel investigated and acted upon, mechanisms for oversight of the security sector both by the government and civil society, budget allocations that address the different needs of women, the number and percentage of women and girl combatants during conflict, and the number and percentage of women and girls in demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration (DDR) processes.
Supporting Women in the Afghan National Security Forces
In the U.S., civil society groups working on gender and security have worked with members of Congress to include funding and support for the recruitment of women into the Afghan National Security Forces through defense authorization and appropriations bills.
In response to a recent New York Times article on the challenges confronting women in the police forces, Afghan activist Wazhma Frogh wrote:
Despite the cultural barriers, lack of services, and inadequate facilities, we still have over 3,000 women serving in the police force and Ministry of Interior. These women chose to become police officers despite the risks that this job entails. Women’s organizations, activists, and civil society have pushed for reforms and support mechanisms for the female police. The Ministry of Interior has its first Female Police Integration Strategy accompanied by a five-year implementation plan. We were behind the creation and development of the Strategy, and now we’re monitoring the implementation so that the challenges of female police are addressed at the highest level.
I want to thank the US Congress for allocating fifty million dollars to support the women in our country’s security forces. That financial support, together with continuous backing from the European Police Advisory Mission and international mentors, will take the Afghan National Police to a new level of competence.
The political dimension is the principle of civilian control over military bodies, ensuring democratic processes and parliamentary and civil society oversight of the security sector. Security institutions should be transparent, respectful of the rule of law and human rights, and accountable to democratic civilian authority, such as parliament and the justice system. There should be a constitutional and legal framework for civilian oversight and management of the security sector. The defense forces must operate within the legal framework and be held accountable through democratic structures.
Parliaments play an essential role in the security sector in their legislative and oversight capacity. They approve budgets, review and implement related legislation, and shape national dialogue on security. Gender-responsive parliaments can ensure inclusive, needs-based security policies, strengthen the operational effectiveness of security sector institutions, and hold them accountable for equitable budgeting and gender responsive budgeting. Oversight must include initiatives to prevent, respond to and sanction human rights violations and gender-based violence including torture, sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, forced prostitution, and human trafficking in compliance with international human rights law, introducing and strengthening gender budget initiatives and conducting gender impact assessments of security policy, requesting sex disaggregated data on gender mainstreaming and the composition of security sector, monitoring peacekeeping missions, ensuring that women are included in peace processes and transitional justice, and reforming the judicial system and laws.
Gender responsive political reform related to security also requires the increased participation of women, gender experts, and women’s organizations in official oversight bodies and processes in line with international obligations under the women, peace and security framework. Women must be included in parliamentary committees on defense, foreign operations, and budgets. However, it is not enough just to have women there; they must have the capacity and knowledge to engage on the issues. It is also important to build the gender capacity of all parliamentarians, both men and women, to address gender issues. Establishing gender caucuses and working with civil society experts can help to support gender initiatives.
Civil society organizations including men and women must be consulted in order to ensure that policies and programs are adequately responding to the needs of all groups. Parliamentarians can ensure participatory national security processes through engaging in public debate and consultations and by holding hearings to facilitate civil society’s input, encouraging women’s organizations to participate in policy consultation processes, and making themselves available to hear concerns expressed by women’s organizations and constituents through town hall meetings and individual or group constituent meetings.
Similarly, government ministries involved in maintaining national security and oversight of the security sector, such as ministries of defense and national security councils, must include women and integrate gender perspectives. The gender capacity of security policymakers should be built through training, mentoring, and information sharing. Policymaking processes should include consultations with civil society at all levels to assess national and local security needs. Policies must include gender responsive monitoring and assessment. Ministries and executive offices should establish mechanisms for the participation of civil society. Initiatives should also be taken at the local level to ensure that community insecurities are addressed by municipal governments, local security sector institutions, and civil society.
Institutional reform involves the physical and technical transformation of security entities.
Physical transformation is defined as changing institutions to be diverse and reflect society, including through increased recruitment and retention of women in line with international obligations. Women have traditionally been extremely underrepresented in the security sector due to cultural norms that have generally regarded it as “men’s work.” Women who work in military and police forces may be discriminated against or shunned in conservative communities. They also often face inhospitable work environments that include inadequate or lack of separate facilities for women, discriminatory hiring practices, lesser benefits, minimal training, limited opportunities for advancement, little access to recruitment programs, and atmospheres of sexual harassment.
Efforts to ensure the equal participation of women should include measures to increase female recruitment, retention, and advancement in the security sector, human resource policies and practices that are gender responsive and family friendly to promote an environment conducive to employing women, review of recruitment and selection criteria to eliminate bias, outreach to women in communities for recruitment, provision of training, and establishing female staff associations.
Hungary successfully raised the number of women in its armed forces from 4.3 % in 2005 to 17.56 % in 2006. Its strategies to increase the recruitment, retention, and deployment of women include a Military Service Law that upholds the equal rights of men and women in the armed services, an Equal Opportunity Team and Equal Opportunity Plan created by human resources, a Committee on Women of the Hungarian Defense Forces that conducts research on the status of gender equality and makes recommendations for change, a network of women’s focal points established at unit level, and measures to improve resting and hygienic conditions in the units.
Technical transformation involves the professionalization and modernization of forces, reorienting their focus, and teaching new skills such as respect for human rights and gender. Gender mainstreaming activities include establishing and improving policy frameworks to support gender equality and women’s empowerment in the work of the defense sector, enhancing staff capacity to apply a gender-sensitive approach to their work through gender awareness training, improving capacity to prevent and respond to gender-based violence through technical training on GBV, and initiatives to prevent, respond to, and punish GBV, preventing GBV perpetrated by defense sector personnel by providing sexual harassment training and establishing codes of conduct and mechanisms for the investigation and punishment of violations including gender focal points and gender advisors in forces and missions, establishing gender responsive policies and ensuring funding commitments for implementation through gender budgeting, training, and supporting reformed judicial and penal systems and ensuring transparency and accountability, and building the capacity of institutions and civil society organizations (CSOs).
The Defense Sector
The defense sector—including the armed forces, intelligence, relevant ministries of defense, executive offices, and military justice mechanisms—should be under civilian control, abide by principles of accountability and good governance, maintain an appropriate-sized force, be of representative composition in terms of gender, ethnicity, and other factors, be appropriately trained, and abide by international law.
Today’s defense forces must also be equipped to deal with the realities of conflicts that include sexual and gender-based violence as a weapon of war, mass human rights violations and humanitarian crises, health epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, and sexual abuse and exploitation by defense sector personnel themselves. Incorporating principles of human rights, democracy, and gender in trainings, programs, and missions is essential in preparing forces to meet these challenges. In addition, due to the changed nature of conflict, national armed forces now spend less time and resources on protecting their own borders and more on international peacekeeping missions, which go beyond traditional security activities to tasks such as providing services to local communities, engaging in development projects, providing health services, rebuilding institutions, and ensuring free elections. Diversity and gender mainstreaming allows forces to better perform these tasks.
Gender perspectives must also be integrated into police forces. Because police are responsible for the maintenance of public order, protection of people, and enforcement of the law, they must understand and be able to address all security threats facing the communities they serve, recognizing that men and women are affected by violence and discrimination in different ways.
Common challenges in policing include poor response rates to crimes, excessive use of force against particular groups, exclusion of particular groups within police institutions, misconduct and abuse of function, refusal to register complaints, poor investigation skills, lack of accountability, and lack of civilian trust.
Applying a gender perspective to all aspects of police operations helps improve effectiveness. In addition, because police officers respond to crimes including GBV, which is one of the most prevalent crimes and greatest threats to security in all parts of the world, they must be sensitized, trained and equipped with the necessary skills to deal with both female and male survivors and to carry out investigations in a sensitive and effective way.
Research has also shown that police operations are more effective at combating insurgencies and terrorism than military forces due to their presence in local communities, which better equips them to gather local intelligence and work with citizens to counter militant groups. However, for police forces to fill this role they must be adequately equipped, properly trained, and representative of the populations they are charged with protecting.
The 1325 framework mandates that the UN and Member States increase the number of women and incorporate gender perspectives into peacekeeping operations in order to promote gender equality and combat sexual and gender-based violence. Peacekeeping operations include serving troops and military observers, police personnel, international civilian personnel, local civilian personnel, and UN volunteers. The UN does not have its own military force, but rather depends on contributions from Member States. Currently 128 countries contribute military and police personnel to missions in 19 countries.
In addition to maintaining peace and security, peacekeepers are increasingly charged with assisting in political processes, reforming judicial systems, training law enforcement and police forces, disarming and reintegrating former combatants, and supporting the return of internally displaced persons and refugees.
Multiple reports over the past fifteen years have evaluated efforts to implement UNSCR 1325 in peacekeeping operations.
Evaluation has included three broad areas of efforts to: 1) incorporate more female personnel into peace operations and more women in decision-making and peace processes overall; 2) improve investigation of cases of sexual violence and accountability for perpetrators; and 3) develop gender sensitivity in peacekeeping forces. All reports identify minimal improvements on the ground and highlight the overall failure of initiatives to achieve their goals.
As of February 2015, women comprised just fewer than 4 % of UN peacekeeping missions,
far short of any representative number.
Sexual exploitation in peacekeeping operations has been identified as a major problem. A UN report completed in 2005 by Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein found widespread sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel. It made recommendations in four main areas of concern: current rules on standards of conduct, the investigative process, organization, managerial, and command responsibility, individual disciplinary, financial and criminal accountability.
That same year, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations established conduct and discipline units to uphold standards of conduct in UN missions.
In October 2014, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced a High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations to consider a broad range of issues facing peace operations, including the changing nature of conflict, evolving mandates, good offices and peace building challenges, managerial and administrative arrangements, planning, partnerships, human rights and protection of civilians, uniformed capabilities for peacekeeping operations, and performance. It is expected to be presented to the General Assembly in September 2015.
Integrating gender into the justice sector is critical. The 1325 framework stresses the need to end impunity and ensure access to justice for women in order to maintain peace and security. It is a recurrent theme throughout the resolutions, especially in relation to sexual violence. Most recently UNSCR 2106 (2013) stresses the need for justice sector reform and calls on States to undertake initiatives including legislative and policy reforms that address sexual violence, training in sexual and gender-based violence of justice and security sector professionals, and the inclusion of more women at professional levels in these sectors. It also calls for judicial proceedings that take into account the distinct needs and protection of survivors, family members and witnesses of sexual violence in armed conflict and post-conflict situations in order to ensure safe court environments for women to come forward and seek justice.
In order to comply with the principles of 1325 and international obligations relating to women’s participation in decision-making and to safeguard women’s interests and maintain security and stability, judiciaries must include women. Furthermore, judges, lawyers, and other court personnel must be adequately trained in gender equality and women’s rights principles, including international law.
“Transitional justice” refers to the set of judicial and non-judicial measures that are implemented in order to redress legacies of massive human rights abuses during a country’s transition from conflict or authoritarian rule. They address and heal divisions in society, provide justice to victims and accountability for perpetrators, create a historical record, and restore the rule of law and promote co-existence and sustainable peace.
Measures include criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparations programs (that generally involve monetary or other compensation), and various kinds of institutional reforms – for instance reform of the judiciary, legal, police, penal, and military sectors to promote the rule of law and end human rights violations and systematic discrimination.
It can also consist of more community-based programs, run either by the government or by civil society groups, which promote peace and reconciliation. Transitional justice is an important part of the healing and reconstruction process. For women, this often means seeking justice for the sexual violence, displacement, and loss of property that they suffered during conflict, as well as reparations for such crimes and lack of access to social services and other entitlements due to discriminatory policies or practices. Integrating gender perspectives is an important part of the process.
Human rights institutions such as human rights commissions play an important role in promoting and protecting human rights principles and monitoring compliance with international standards. Duties of human rights commissions may include: receiving and investigating complaints of human rights violations, monitoring jails, prisons, and other places of detention, monitoring government compliance with international human rights treaties, sensitizing government institutions regarding international human rights treaties and integrating them into existing national law, submitting reports to relevant international human rights treaty monitoring bodies, publishing findings, submitting reports to parliaments on the state of human rights and freedoms in the country, establishing human rights educations programs, and raising public awareness of human rights and constitutional protections. In order to be effective and equitable, human rights commissions must be knowledgeable about international law related to women, peace, and security, sensitized to gender issues and equipped to address violations of women’s rights.
The penal system is an important part of the justice sector, which ensures that the law is enforced. The differing needs of men, women, boys, and girls must be taken into account. Gender integrative measures should include appropriate laws and nondiscriminatory sentencing, effective oversight and monitoring, complaint mechanisms, adequate facilities for both men and women, protection from GBV, comprehensive health care for both men and women, including reproductive and maternal health care when necessary, proper recruitment and training of prison staff to ensure gender sensitivity, and access to civil society organizations that provide services and support to inmates. In many countries, human rights commissions play an important role in monitoring detention facilities.
dimension involves transparent public financial management of the security sector and gender sensitive budgeting. In many countries, the defense sector represents a large percentage of the national budget. In the U.S., defense spending constitutes 53 % of the president’s requested budget for fiscal year 2016.
Trailing a very distant second are education, labor, and social services at 8.6 %, with requests for other social, human, justice, international assistance, and environmental needs at even smaller proportions. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action recognizes that excessive military expenditures, including global military expenditures, arms trade and trafficking, and investments in arms production and acquisition have reduced the resources available for social development. It calls on governments to reduce excessive military expenditures and control the availability of armaments to support women’s economic development and security. In order to foster human security and achieve long-term stability, governments should redirect spending to focus more on human, economic, and environmental needs such as education, health care, food security, and economic opportunity.
Additionally, in order to achieve human security at large, and gender equality in particular, funding must be attached to policy commitments. Gender budgeting for the defense sector must take into account to what degree men and women benefit from defense spending in programs providing security, in recruitment and conducive human resources policies, and for gender related activities such as training.
Importantly for true and lasting change is the societal aspect of security sector reform, which includes changing social stereotypes and attitudes and collaborating with civil society to develop, implement, and monitor security policies and programs. This means transforming culture so that excluded groups such as women and religious minorities are included and making security forces and institutions sensitive to their needs. Gender mainstreaming policies and mechanisms in and of themselves are critical but insufficient. They will not work unless there are changes in the structural and institutional forces that bring about inequality in the first place. This means working not only with policy makers, but also with community leaders, including traditional, cultural, and religious leaders to sensitize them to gender issues. These individuals are also often the gateways to their communities and to changing perceptions at the local level.
The empowerment of women at the grassroots level is critical in operationalizing the women, peace, and security agenda in order to ensure that laws and policies relating to their rights actually reach them and make a difference in their lives. It is important to build grassroots structures for capacity-building on women’s rights and peace-building.
It is also critical to engage men in order to change power structures and promote gender equality and peace within communities. Men generally control institutional, governmental, and community structures, and thus are important allies for women to gain access to power and decision-making. In addition, working with men at the grassroots level helps them understand the value of treating women as equals and changes perceptions and practices. Identifying males in the community who support women allows them to serve as role models to change family dynamics, sensitize their peers through an understanding of gender issues and women’s rights, and support the economic empowerment of women, which in the end improves the security of families and communities. Inclusive security is the only true path to sustainable peace and security.