Gender-informed security and justice programming

Strategies for integrating a gender perspective into security and justice interventions include gender mainstreaming, in which the impact of all policies and programmes on women, men, girls and boys are considered at every stage of the programming cycle (Valasek, 2008); gender balancing, or ensuring equal representation of men and women in institutions and oversight bodies (Valasek, 2008); and gender-specific interventions such as training and capacity building, creating gender units within the police, and raising awareness of women’s rights with security and justice institutions. Recent literature and guidance on gender and VAWG places an increased emphasis on community-based approaches involving working at the local level to find practical solutions to issues such as discriminatory social norms, rather than following templates (Denney and Domingo, 2013; DFID, 2012b).

An evaluation of AusAID law and justice assistance found that gender mainstreaming has been weak in practice; it is often treated as a one-off formal design requirement rather than an active tool and has been applied inconsistently. This suggests that gender-specific initiatives require much more prominence in programming (AusAID, 2012, p. 35).

Challenges

Political will and resources: DFID (2012a) argues that the state has the primary responsibility for preventing VAWG; national governments are ultimately responsible for implementing the laws, policies and services that exist. However, implementation is hindered due to a lack of political will at the local and national levels.

Social norms and discrimination: Social norms that support male dominance, condone VAWG and support impunity, or prohibit women’s representation in security and justice agencies present significant challenges (OECD-DAC, 2009; DFID, 2012a). Sustained reductions in VAWG will only occur through significant social change, including in male-female power relations, social norms and discriminatory practices (DFID, 2012a).

Inadequate prevention and response services: The protection of women from VAWG and the ability to respond effectively is hampered by the inadequate provision of services, not only in security and justice, but also in education, health and social welfare. Protection and support for women, including women at risk of violence, continue to be under-resourced (DFID, 2012a).

Insufficient civil society capacity: Women’s organisations, especially those that work on tackling VAWG, can initiate, propel and sustain change, but civil society is over-burdened and insufficiently resourced to undertake prevention efforts (OECD-DAC, 2009; DFID, 2012a).

Approaches

Context and gender assessments: Gender assessments are an important tool for designing, implementing and monitoring programmes (Valasek, 2008). The analysis of disaggregated data on the different safety, security and justice threats and needs of women and men and its incorporation into planning enables interventions to address a broader range of gender-specific risks (Onslow et al., 2010). It helps to ensure that gender equality principles are systematically integrated at all stages of programming, and addresses how the construction of gender identities shapes perceptions of security and justice providers. This should contribute towards the provision of safety, security and justice that is non-discriminatory, reflective of diversity and accountable to citizens (UNDP, 2007a).

Tackle social norms at the community level: Working at a community level involves engaging with groups and organisations that can influence social change, such as traditional leaders and civil society, and particularly women’s organisations (DFID, 2012b).

Holistic and multi-sectoral approaches: Interventions targeted only at one level of society or only focused on one intervention achieve limited results. A holistic approach, including coordinated interventions operating a multiple societal levels, across sectors (economic, education, health, justice, security and social welfare) is more likely to have an impact on VAWG (DFID, 2012a).

Supporting the state to meet its obligations: Donors can influence national programming and build institutional capacity though policy dialogue, sector reviews and consultative forums. Donors can also work with civil society organisations to enable them to hold their governments to account (DFID, 2012b).

Tools and guidance

Normative frameworks for gender, security and justice:

  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (see Douglas, 2007)
  • Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (DEVAW) (see Douglas, 2007)
  • United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCRs 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106 and 2122)

UK Government Policy Initiatives

  • The UK National Action Plan on Resolution 1325 (see HMG, 2012)
  • Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) (see Hague, 2012)

Policy tools and guidance

  • The OECD-DAC Handbook on Security System Reform. Section 9: Integrating Gender Awareness and Equality (see OECD-DAC, 2009)
  • DFID How to notes on Violence Against Women and Girls: A series of three guidance notes including: A Theory of Change (see DFID, 2012a); A Practical Guide on Community Programming (see DFID, 2012b); Guidance on Monitoring and Evaluation for Programming (see DFID, 2012c)
  • The UN Security Sector Reform Integrated Technical Guidance Notes – Section 3: Gender-Responsive Security Sector Reform (see UN, 2012)

The DCAF Gender and SSR Toolkit (DCAF) includes individual sector based tools that are relevant to other parts of this guide:

  • Albrecht, P., & Barnes, K. (2008). National Security Policy-Making and Gender. In M. Bastick & K. Valasek (Eds.), Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit. Geneva: DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN-INSTRAW.
    See document online
  • Barnes, K., & Albrecht, P. (2008). Civil Society Oversight of the Security Sector and Gender. In M. Bastick & K. Valasek (Eds.), Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit. Geneva: DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN-INSTRAW.
    See document online
  • AusAID. (2012). Building on Local Strengths: Evaluation of Australian Law and Justice Assistance. Canberra: Australian Agency for International Development.
    See document online
  • Denham, T. (2008). Police Reform and Gender. In M. Bastick & K.Valasek (Eds.), Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit. Geneva: DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN-INSTRAW.
    See document online
  • Denney, L. & Domingo, P. (2013). A problem-focussed approach to violence against women: the political-economy of justice and security programming. London: ODI.
    See document online
  • DFID. (2012a). A Theory of Change for Tackling Violence against Women and Girls. CHASE Guidance Note Series No. 1. London: DFID. See document online
  • DFID. (2012b). A Practical Guide on Community Programming on Violence against Women and Girls. CHASE Guidance Note Series No. 2. London: DFID.
    See document online
  • DFID. (2012c). Guidance on Monitoring and Evaluation for Programming on Violence against Women and Girls. CHASE Guidance Note Series No. 3. London: DFID.
    See document online
  • Douglas, S. (2007). Gender Equality and Justice Programming: Equitable Access to Justice for Women. UNDP Primer in Gender and Democratic Governance No.2. New York: UNDP.
    See document online
  • Hague, W. (2012). Foreign Secretary launches new Government initiative to prevent sexual violence in conflict. Launch of HMG initiative on preventing sexual violence in conflict, Foreign & Commonwealth Office [speech transcript] London. 29th May 2012.
    See document online
  • Hendricks, C., & Hutton, L. (2008). Defence Reform and Gender. In M. Bastick &K.Valasek (Eds.), Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit. Geneva: DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN-INSTRAW.
    See document online
  • HMG. (2012). UK Government National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 Women, Peace and Security. London: UK Government Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
    See document online
  • Luciak, I. (2008). Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector and Gender. In M. Bastick & K. Valasek (Eds.), Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit. Geneva: DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN-INSTRAW.
    See document online
  • OECD-DAC. (2009). Section 9: Integrating Gender Awareness and Equality. In Handbook on Security System Reform, Supporting Security and Justice. Paris: OECD.
    See document online
  • Onslow, C., Schoofs, S., & Maguire , S. (2010). Peacebuilding with a gender perspective: How the EU can make a difference. London: Initiative for Peacebuilding.
    See document online
  • Quast, S. (2008). Justice Reform and Gender. In M. Bastick & K. Valasek (Eds.), Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit. Geneva: DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN-INSTRAW.
    See document online
  • UN. (2012). Security Sector Reform: Integrated Technical Guidance Notes. New York: United Nations SSR Task Force.
    See document online
  • UNDP. (2007a). Gender Sensitive Police Reform in Post Conflict Societies. New York: United Nations Development Programme.
    See document online
  • Valasek, K. (2008). Security Sector Reform and Gender. In M. Bastick & K. Valasek (Eds.), Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit. Geneva: DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN-INSTRAW.
    See document online