In most countries around the world, the different security and justice needs of men, women, boys and girls are not adequately being met. In addition, women and certain groups of men remain excluded from security decision-making and from participation in security sector institutions and oversight processes. DCAF has been working to support the integration of gender issues in security sector institutions and security sector reform (SSR) processes since 2003.
The integration of gender issues in SSR is recognised as key to strengthening the effective provision of justice and security services, oversight of the security sector and local ownership of SSR processes. For example, increasing the recruitment and promotion of female personnel, preventing human rights violations, and collaborating with women’s organisations contributes to creating an efficient, accountable and participatory security sector, which responds to the specific needs of men, women, girls and boys.
The international community has acknowledged the importance of a gender-responsive security sector, including in the Beijing Platform for Action and UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009) and 1960 (2010).
- Support the creation of gender-sensitive security sector institutions.
- Encourage the effective and gender-sensitive oversight of security sector institutions by government ministries, parliament and civil society.
- Support external SSR actors, including regional and international organisations and donors, to mainstream gender into their SSR activities.
- Promote the full and equal participation of women in security institutions and in security sector governance.
- Facilitate linkages between the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security, the prevention of gender-based violence, and SSR; and dialogue between the 'Women, Peace and Security' and SSR communities.
- Support the integration of actions to end violence against women, empower women as security sector actors and address the particular security needs of men and women in all DCAF activities.
Types of Work
- Generating and distributing practical research and training resources
- Supporting institutional, national, regional and international policy development
- Conducting country and institutional assessments
- Supporting, developing and delivering training, training-of-trainers and capacity-building
- Facilitating and hosting workshops and conferences
- Providing technical expertise and input upon request.
Who do we work with?
- Women's civil society organisations
- Armed forces including female security sector staff associations
- Local, regional and international organizations like the UN, OSCE and NATO
- Government ministries and parliaments
DCAF creates a Gender and Security team
DCAF publishes Women in an Insecure World. Violence against Women. Facts, Figures and Analysis
DCAF releases Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict: Global Overview and Implications for the Security Sector
DCAF releases Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit
DCAF starts the Gender and Security Programme in West Africa
DCAF launches the Gender and Security Programme in the Western Balkans
DCAF launches Reinforcing Gender and SSR Institutional Capacity in the Global South project
Current and Recent Projects
Gender & Security Sector Reform Toolkit (2008)
This Toolkit is an initial response to the need for information and analysis on gender and SSR. It is designed to provide policymakers and practitioners with a practical introduction to why gender issues are important in SSR and what can be done to integrate them.
The Gender and Security Sector Reform Training Resource Package (2008)
These training resources are a companion to the SSR and Gender Toolkit. The Gender and SSR Training Resource Package contains a wide range of exercises, discussion topics and examples from the ground.
A Women’s Guide to Security Sector Reform (2013)
The Women’s Guide to SSR provides both information on the security sector and tools for action. It draws on the rich and varied experiences of women in civil society from across the world and shares examples of practical, and sometimes innovative, ways to influence reform from the grassroots.
Gender Training for the Security Sector: Lessons identified and practical resources (2013)
On 4-6 June 2012, DCAF hosted a three-day workshop on gender training for the security sector in Geneva, Switzerland. The workshop brought together thirty-six gender training experts from around the world to share and discuss good practices and lessons learned in delivering gender training to defence, police and other security audiences.
Gender Self-Assessment Guide for the Police, Armed Forces and Justice Sector (2011)
This self-assessment guide is a tool for assessing the gender responsiveness of a security sector institution.
Female Staff Associations in the Security Sector: Agents of Change? (2011)
This occasional paper examines the structures, mandates and activities of a sampling of female staff associations and networks in the security sector.
Gender and Security Sector Reform (2009)
DCAF Backgrounder on Gender and SSR
Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (2007)
This report demonstrates the horrifying scope and magnitude of sexual violence in armed conflict and is an important resource for security sector and development institutions, advocates, humanitarian actors, and policy makers seeking to address sexual violence during and after armed conflict.
Women in an Insecure World (2005)
DCAF's first major publication on the issue of gender and SSR, it is a substantial resource for those working on violence against women, and as a tool to increase awareness amongst those not yet engaged with the problem.