Skip to main content


Back to Resources

Private Military and Security Companies and Gender (Tool 10)

1 January, 2008




1. Introduction

2. What are PMSCs and the "privatisation of security"?

3. Why is gender important to PMSCs?
3.1 To improve operational effectiveness - international PMSCs as SSR providers
3.2 To improve staffing procedures and employment standards - “ PMSCs as "subjects" of SSR
3.3 To create an institutional culture that prevents misconduct and human rights violations - PMSCs as "subjects" of SSR
3.4 To improve coordination among agencies in peace support operations - PMSCs as actors in complex multi-agency operational environments

4. How can gender be integrated into PMSCs?
4.1 Contractual obligations and quality control of PMSCs
4.2 Include local PSCs in SSR processes
4.3 Policies and codes of conduct to address sexual harassment and abuse
4.4 Recruiting and retaining more women
4.5 Employees' mental and physical health
4.6 Vetting and training
4.7 Gender training
4.8 Industry self-regulation and internal company codes of conduct

5. Addressing gender issues in international and national regulation of PMSCs
5.1 International human rights and international humanitarian law
5.2 National legislation and guidelines for extraterritorial crimes and wrongs
5.3 Non-binding international guidelines
5.4 Other relevant international instruments

6. Integrating gender into PMSCs in specific contexts
6.1 Conflict and post-conflict countries
6.2 Developing countries
6.3 Transitional countries
6.4 Developed countries

7. Key recommendations

8. Additional resources


This tool addresses the gender aspects and challenges of a relatively new phenomenon: the privatisation of security on a global scale.

So far, reliable research data is scarce. Moreover, much of the relevant information, such as companies' standard operating procedures as well as the contents of most of their contracts, is strictly confidential. However, this must not lead to complacency. In order to ensure the effectiveness and long-term success of security sector reform (SSR) involving Private Security Companies (PSCs) and Private Military Companies (PMCs) it is indispensable to integrate gender aspects into all operations.

The tool includes:

- An introduction to PMSCs and their increasing role as part of the security sector
- The rationale for why integrating gender strengthens PMSCs
- Practical actions to integrate gender into PMSCs and their operations
- An overview of particular gender and PMSC issues in post-conflict, transitional, developing and developed country contexts