Gender Equality for Better Security and Justice Delivery

ISSAT remains committed to gender equality, as an essential enabler to SSR. It is integral to the standards that SSR seeks to establish. Good security sector governance cannot be achieved without gender equality. In particular, gender equality contributes to improving both the internal and operational effectiveness of the security sector institutions, and helps the security providers to meet the needs of the population. The below section is dedicated to exploring the wealth of resources available for practitioners working on gender equality, security and justice.

ISSAT Case Examples 

ISSAT Evaluation of the UNDP Rule of Law Programme in Colombia, 2018 

In 2018, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Rule of Law, Justice, Security and Human Rights Unit requested ISSAT’s support to conduct an evaluation of their Colombia Country Programme. ISSAT’s methodological approach explicitly focused on identifying the strategic rationale and effects achieved by the UNDP. This included documenting the extent to which gender equality was mainstreamed into the RoL interventions supported by UNDP. The information gathered was structured according to the OECD-DAC evaluation criteria with specific emphasis placed on the core areas of Relevance, Effectiveness/Impact, Efficiency and Sustainability.

The evaluation found UNDP’s will to systematically promote gender equality, the allocation of resources to improving technical and strategic capacity to be highly effective in fulfilling its institutional commitment to promote gender equality.


Training on Ending Combat-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV), 2018

Following a request made by the Swiss Embassy in India, ISSAT delivered presentations on CRSV at the workshop “Integrated Programme on Mainstreaming Gender in UN Peacekeeping to end Conflict Related Sexual Violence”. The workshop was organised by UNWOMEN India and the United Services Institute of India and took place in New Delhi in February 2018. ISSAT contributed to the 4-day programme designed to improve UN peacekeepers’ ability to address and prevent CRSV in their operational environment. 

The methodology applied by ISSAT aimed at linking policy to practice, including focusing on how strategic documents such as the UN Security Council Resolutions 1820 and 2272 and SDG5 would translate at the multiarray tactical level. ISSAT adapted its methodology to the audience to facilitate discussion and generate impact, capitalised on the peer to peer approach to build trust and presented a visually attrative knowledge product which summarises policy documents and aids understanding of complex international frameworks. 


Mainstreaming Gender in the framework of the Juvenile Justice System Baseline Study in Albania (Swedish Mandate), 2017

ISSAT supported the baseline study of the Swedish Juvenile Justice programme in Albania in 2017. The methodology aimed to analyse the existing strengths and weaknesses of the legal framework, structures, capacity, and coordination systems governing the juvenile justice system.

The case study on Albania finds that: 

The team actively sought different perspectives from the national actors which allowed for a stronger social-cultural understanding behind the obstacles impacting access to services. 

The methodology was useful in identifying gaps in victim-centered services significantly impacting one sex over another. It also enabled the team to identify a gender imbalance in the participation and access to juvenile justice system as a result of numerous intra-and interinstitutional disarticulations. 


Mainstreaming Gender in the EU Regional Assessment covering the Sahel (EU Mandate), 2017

ISSAT supported the EU by designing a framework to understand the minimum operating capacities, structures, policies and processes of national security sectors, in line with the European Commission’s strategic engagement for Gender Equality 2016-2019. The project’s methodology aimed at designing a shared reference base, which seeks to identify fundamental elements for ensuring the optimal functioning of a security system. On that basis, an evaluation grid has been developed and used in field missions in order to assess institutional needs in the security sector.

A few findings are as follows:

It is critically important to look holistically at working processes to identify local strategies that are likely to increase participation and access of women to the security and justice sector. In this way, it is possible to assess whether women have been involved in the design, development and implementation of policies from different operational perspectives.

Using sex-disaggregated information in perception surveys is key to evidence-based dialogue with local actors. 

The array of expertise drawn from a programme consortium can broaden the methodology’s gender mainstreaming; however, the final gender equality messaging should be coherent as it should be comprehensive. 


Mainstreaming Gender in the framework of the Nepal Justice Sector Assessment (Norwegian mandate)

ISSAT supported Norway in a mandate to map an overview of the Nepalese population’s emerging needs and identification of possible areas for future programmatic support related to justice sector reform. From conception, the mandate strived to incorporate gender perspectives into the methodology by creating a diverse team of experts with profiles that were able to reflect upon the full spectrum of security and justice challenges. The mandate focused on the identification of the institutional gaps stemming from unmet needs of some of the most vulnerable individuals/groups.

A few findings are as follows:

There is a proven benefit to engaging with local partners to identify the most vulnerable and marginalised groups and disaggregating justice needs based on age, ethnicity, geographic location etc. 

The inclusion of professionals with relevant diverse expertise who have a cross-cutting gender lens, played a critical role in determining and capturing clear linkages between gender and broader issues such as access to justice, and gender-related threats such as human trafficking and modern day slavery (to name a few) which disproportionately impact vulnerable and marginalized groups, and significantly children, women, and members of lower caste who are more at risk.

The added value of providing an Options Paper as one of the outputs, specifically targeting gender equality, ensures that gender is a core issue with complex characteristics (encompassing class, race, religious affiliation and poverty levels) and thus needs to be addressed consistently to promote more gender responsive and inclusive security and justice institutions.


Mainstreaming Gender in the framework of SDC’s Citizen Security Programme in Honduras (Swiss Mandate), 2017 

The Swiss Development Cooperation’s (SDC) Citizen Security programme in Honduras, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), supported the implementation of the Government Policy on Comprehensive Civic Coexistence and Public Safety from 2013 to 2018. DCAF-ISSAT and Swedepeace partnered as the Swiss JSSR Team to provide technical backstopping support to SDC and their partners during this period with a focus on supporting the police reform process. Specifically, the Swiss JSSR Team engaged the SDC and partners in strategic change management of the police, strengthening civil society participation and influence, providing technical advice and support to SDC and counterparts, including JSSR thematic training, and introducing tools for conflict sensitivity, political dialogue, stakeholder analysis, scenario analysis and theory of change (ToC).

A few findings are as follows:

Consistent messaging backing gender equality from the senior SEDS SPU police manager was the catalyst for steering discussions during the ToC workshops in a direction that allowed the Working Group to identify gender equality entry points for inter-institutional synergies.

The focus on strategic change management in the backstopping methodology enabled the close interaction with SEDS police managers that was needed to effectively support them to incorporate elements of the national gender equality policy, as outcomes, in the proposed national police strategy ToC.

The Swiss JSSR Team national expert’s previous experience working with women’s organisations on the topic of security played an important role in understanding the challenges that police institutions face when promoting gender equality. Consultations with the National Police Gender Unit also benefited as did the overall quality of conflict sensitivity analysis in backstopping methodology.

Watch an interview with Police Commissioner Gerson Velásquez, recorded by ISSAT during a mandate in Honduras: 

Commissioner Gerson Velásquez discusses opportunities for integrating gender mainstreaming to security sector reform. He also comments on the difficulties facing change and insists on the need for the police to take a more specific approach in regards to gender issues.


DCAF’s Analysis on Gender Equality and SSR

Resources on Gender Equality and SSR from our Library

Practical Tools on Gender Equality and SSR

Case Studies on Gender Equality and SSR

Women, Peace and Security: Our Members' Policy Documents