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Tool 14: Intelligence and Gender

27 February, 2020



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

Little attention has as yet been paid to gender in relation to intelligence services. However, integrating a gender perspective in intelligence collection and intelligence analysis can strengthen these processes. Moreover, intelligence services that function in pursuit of democratic goals must do their work without discrimination on the basis of sex, gender or sexual orientation. This requires measures to ensure:

  • women and men have equal opportunities to participate in the intelligence sector; and

  • the security needs and rights of women, men, girls and boys are equally addressed within the functions of the intelligence sector.

The Tool is a resource of evidence and innovative practice. It proposes measures to be taken by governments, oversight bodies and intelligence services to ensure that intelligence services integrate a gender perspective and promote gender equality, including:

  • processes by which to integrate a gender perspective in the intelligence cycle

  • reform to strengthen oversight and accountability in an inclusive manner

  • measures to strengthen a gender perspective in the oversight of intelligence services

  • organizational leadership and active strategies to achieve gender equality, diversity and inclusion

  • recruiting women and other groups underrepresented in intelligence services

  • mechanisms to prevent and respond to gender-related complaints.

The Tool presents case studies from around the world, plus an institutional self-assessment checklist.


Megan Bastick, DCAF