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Defence Reform and Gender (Tool 3)

1 January, 2008




1. Introduction

2. What is defence reform?

3. Why is gender important to defence reform?
3.1 To respond to different security needs within society
3.2 To respond to the changing needs of the defence sector
3.3 To improve operational effectiveness
3.4 To create representative defence forces and security organisations
3.5 To strengthen democratic, civil oversight of the defence forces

4. How can gender be integrated into defence reform?
4.1 Integrating gender into the political level of defence reform

Defence review Defence democratisation processes
Civil society oversight of the defence sector
Parliamentary oversight of the defence sector
4.2 Integrating gender into the economic level of defence reform
Gender budgeting
4.3 Integrating gender into the institutional level
Recruitment, retention and advancement of women
Policies and mechanisms for institutional reform
Codes of conduct
4.4 Integrating gender into the societal level of defence reform

5. Integrating gender into defence reform in specific contexts
5.1 Post-conflict countries
5.2 Transitional countries
5.3 Developed countries

6. Key recommendations

7. Additional resources


This tool aims to introduce political and implementation actors to the need for a gender perspective in the conduct of defence reform activities. It therefore addresses both the technical aspects of defence reform, such as the conduct of defence review and recruitment policies, as well as more political level activities, such as civil oversight of the defence sector.

Local ownership of SSR processes is widely acknowledged and advocated in current international discourse. National actors, located in government ministries, defence services, research institutions and civil society are therefore a target audience of the tool. The tool provides insight into defence reform processes and the manner in which women can be integrated into the armed forces and defence structures. It also highlights areas for advocacy and civil society mobilisation in the quest for democratically controlled armed forces. The tool includes:

- An introduction to defence reform
- The rationale for why integrating gender strengthens defence reform processes
- Practical actions to integrate gender into defence reform initiatives
- An overview of particular gender and defence reform issues in post-conflict, transitional, developing and developed country contexts