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Tool 3: Defence and Gender

27 February, 2020



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

For armed forces and other defence institutions, thinking about gender until recently used to mean integrating women. While still an important priority, many defence institutions now also focus on what it means to mainstream, or integrate, gender in military operations and how gender dynamics impact on protecting civilians in conflict.

Striving towards gender equality in armed forces and other defence institutions requires shifts in institutional culture and reorienting how defence contributes to promoting gender equality in society. It requires reconsidering insecurity, and how the defence sector is equipped to respond to gendered threats to the state and to the individual. It also involves reconsidering what kind of people, skills and values modern defence forces need.

Drawing on experience and evidence from around the world, the Tool sets out ways in which the defence sector can integrate a gender perspective and promote gender equality through:

  • Fostering leadership buy-in and gender capability.

  • Creating a legal and policy framework to achieve gender equality.

  • Fostering gender equality and broader diversity within armed forces

  • Integrating a gender perspective into military operations.

  • Integrating a gender perspective into defence oversight mechanisms.

It presents case studies from around the world plus an institutional self-assessment checklist.


Megan Bastick, DCAF