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Gender mainstreaming

01 July 2007

<p class="allgemein">In 2000 the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325, <i>Women, Peace and Security</i>, which calls for ‘gender mainstreaming’. This means taking account of gender factors in the planning and implementation of crisis management policies and missions, and gender balancing in civilian and military operations. International organisations, governments and national militaries have become increasingly aware of the unintended gendered side-effects of peacekeeping operations, including incidents of prostitution, trafficking in women and the exploitation of local women and men in post-conflict societies. Systematic sexualised violence against women during conflicts, and the effects of this on post-war reconstruction, further highlights the need for gender-sensitive policies. Within the EU, gender mainstreaming in crisis management operations became topical in 2005 when the European Council welcomed a paper by the General Secretariat on Implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the context of the ESDP. <br /><i><br />Chaillot Paper</i> no. 101, ‘Gender Mainstreaming in ESDP missions’, published by the EUISS in May 2007, seeks to clarify and explore the issue of gender mainstreaming. In the first part it addresses what gender mainstreaming is and why it should be implemented in ESDP missions. The second part presents the findings of a case study conducted by researchers at the EU Institute for Security Studies on the ESDP missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina. <br /><br />The conclusions of the study were encouraging, but many challenges remain. On the whole, attitudes towards gender mainstreaming were found to be positive. The key challenge is to have more female soldiers and police officers in the missions. This requires the commitment of EU Member States at the highest level. In order to recruit the most suitable men and women, national militaries have to make sure that the armed forces is an attractive and professional workplace where everyone can put his/her skills to use. Sexual harassment, for instance, is a pervasive problem that hinders women, and also men, from seeking a military career. </p>
<p class="allgemein">Training of personnel for crisis management operations needs to be strengthened in order to increase sensitivity to the whole range of gender issues, and appreciation of how women’s participation enhances the effectiveness of missions. Training of military personnel deployed in ESDP operations must take into account cultural and gender issues, which is already taking place in many Member States. However, it is of the utmost importance to recognise that superficial, ‘last-minute’ gender and cultural awareness raising will not lead to lasting change. </p>
<p class="allgemein">Finally, it needs to be remembered that gender mainstreaming cannot be simply ‘bolted on’ to operations as a kind of afterthought. A gender perspective must be included systematically at every stage of an operation: in planning (including fact-finding missions), implementation, monitoring and ‘lessons learned’. </p>