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Tool 5: Places of Deprivation of Liberty and Gender



This Tool is part of the DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN Women Gender and Security Toolkit.

Integrating a gender perspective is important in prisons and other places of deprivation of liberty to ensure that the different needs of different groups of people are met. In particular, working with women and girls, men and boys, and transgender people each requires different approaches.

This Tool reflects on new and emerging good practices in integrating a gender perspective in places of deprivation of liberty, how successes in increasing gender equality have been achieved, and persistent challenges.

Drawing from good practices around the world, the Tool explores nine key features of places of deprivation of liberty that advance gender equality and integrate a gender perspective:

  • United acknowledgement that gender makes a difference. 

  • Positive institutional environments based on safety, respect and dignity are actively promoted.

  • A gender perspective integrated at all levels and in all available training opportunities.

  • People are categorized appropriately and accommodated in safe locations.

  • Policies, practices and programmes promote healthy connections to children, family members, significant others and the community.

  • Comprehensive, integrated and culturally relevant physical and mental healthcare is offered.

  • Equality of opportunity to improve socio-economic status is achieved via gender-responsive strategies.

  • A system of comprehensive and collaborative community services and oversight is in place.

  • A gender perspective is integrated into oversight and evaluation through regular and representative internal and external inspections.

The Tool provides guidance to promote action at the level of the following three key stakeholders, including an institutional self-assessment checklist:

  1. National/state-level policy-makers: those able to set and reform the policy agenda.

  2. Institutional operations and leadership: those able to make direct reforms within places of deprivation of liberty.

  3. Civil society: emphasising that partnership with civil society is an important factor in achieving long-term, sustainable reform. 


Graziella Pavone, OSCE/ODIHR