Wanted: examples of utility of gendered analysis at the operational and strategic level

18/11/2019 @ 08:45
by Thammy Evans

Following on from an earlier reply to Mr Sander's question related to this topic, coming up with actual vignettes seems to be more elusive.

To take the application of gender perspectives further, we need to gather vignettes of where ther has been more nuanced gendered analysis than the usual examples of ' just add women and stir'. If you have any please respond to this blog in the comments below.

For further explanation and some generic examples:


Gender analysis, as defined by the Nordic Centre for Gender on Military Operations is 'the systematic gathering and examination of information on gender differences and social relations in order to identify and understand inequities based on gender' (Whose Security? Practical examples of gender perspectives on military operations. NCGM, 2015).

Gendered analysis, by comparison, is the application of gender perspectives (yes, there are many, not just women) in the processing and exploitation of information to provide deeper and broader understanding of 2nd and 3rd order consequences of a given situation in order to positively impact the operational environment, the development of policy and plans, and the achievement of strategic objectives (author’s working definition, see also Scottish Government definitions [1][2]).

Tactical indicators

Examples of the use of gender analysis and gender perspectives on military operations have tended to adopt the approach of ‘just add women and stir’ in order to establish active tactical indicators and directly enhance a safe and secure environment and the physical security of troops and the surrounding population, e.g.

  • mixed patrols in order to gain access and information from different parts of the population
  • patterns of movement of women and children as security indicators
  • placing of roadblocks or road improvements to protect women and children

Operational effects

Examples of the application of a gendered analysis at the operational and campaign level will detail the positive practical benefits in gaming 2nd and 3rd order consequences, e.g.

  • why DDR of youth or resettling child-soldiers back into families tends to meet with community rejection and furthers a cycle of violence, and so allowing an operational commander to reconsider timelines and options for supporting resettlement programmes
  • how illegal weapons in homes perpetuate domestic violence and subsequently power relations in communities, even when there are few overt external acts of violence, and so allowing an operational commander to consider focusing more effort on tracking and eliminating illegal weapons
  • identifying agents of change across the gender spectrum in order to (sometimes in)directly influence behaviours

Strategic outcomes

Few and far between or understood are military or defence level examples of the incorporation of gendered analysis in operational policy and plans in order to achieve strategic military and political outcomes, e.g.

  • engagement of thought leadership in patriarchal societies in order to reduce violence
  • facilitating actively informed female electoral suffrage and correlation of length of suffrage with decrease in violence
  • facilitating long term gender equality as a determinant of improvements of wealth, stability, and prosperity

Thanks for your help, comments, and debate.

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