UN-INSTRAW Hosts On-Line Discussion on Gender Training for Military, Police and Peacekeepers
Friday, July 27, 2007 10:33 AM

Increasing the number of qualified male trainers in gender training for security personnel is one of the key conclusions of an online expert-group discussion hosted by United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW), the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

The recommendations of this e-discussion are released today on the eve of a three-day “training of trainers” in gender equality for personnel from various UN peacekeeping missions. This workshop is organized by the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and held at UN-INSTRAW headquarters in Santo Domingo.

During the three-week virtual discussion carried out in April, more than 140 specialists from around the globe exchanged field experiences and discussed how to make gender trainings more effective for security sector personnel such as military, police and prison staff, peacekeepers and the justice system.

With special attention given to UN peacekeepers, international gender experts representing academic institutions, NGOs, security forces and the UN have provided useful recommendations and practical tips on training delivery, for example on how to challenge gender stereotypes.

“Many of the security institutions –military, police, peacekeepers— are dominated by men”, pointed out Carmen Moreno, UN-INSTRAW Director. “How can they fulfill their mandate of protecting both men and women if they are blind to gender issues? Knowing more about how differently men and women experience conflict helps security personnel respond better to gender-based violence and prevent sexual abuse”, continued Ms. Moreno.

“According to experts, having male and female trainers working together is very good practice”, stressed Toiko Tõnisson Kleppe, UN-INSTRAW moderator of the e-discussion. “This way they can break the ice, question gender stereotypes and more easily get the message across to the mostly male participants. A man who speaks to other men about gender is often listened to in a more attentive way”, she added.

According to gender and security specialists, gender trainings are more effective when initiated at the early stage, integrated directly into other training programs, conducted in situ and with the involvement of senior management officials.

The virtual discussion on gender training for security sector personnel took place as part of an on-going joint project of UN-INSTRAW, DCAF and ODIHR, which focuses on the development of a hands-on toolkit for practitioners on how to integrate gender issues into security sector reforms. Upon the experts’ request, the organizing institutions are now considering setting up a permanent platform on gender training for security personnel in order to sustain the exchange of knowledge and practices.

Published in: UN INSTRAW Press Release, United Nations, 26 June 2007.