Items selected for printing

VII. Gender awareness and Cross Cutting Topics (CCT)selected for printing

7.2. Gender awarenessselected for printing

To sketch a complete picture of the civil environment, both the perspectives from men and from women in the society have to be included. Men, women, boys and girls may face different risks and vulnerabilities, play different roles in societies, or are affected by a changing security environment differently. Thus a gender perspective has to be included in planning, assessments and reports.

Specifically, the presence of gender based violence in the AOO and possible counter measures need to be assessed and conveyed to the commander.

CIMIC planners and gender advisor will also have to contribute to the CUOE. It is important to obtain a clear understanding of the operating environment and main actors, including the local culture and society which include a gender dimension. A good tool to guide the planners’ thought process is the factor/deduction/conclusion table.

Example of the factor/deduction/conclusion table with gender related factors;




Tactical units are not engaging the female population

  • We will not have support from the female population and their family
  • Lack of credibility of the force; will have an impact on force protection
  • Insufficient or misleading situational awareness
  • We need to allocate force able to engage with the entire population in a cultural respectful manner

Risk of no female voters in elections

  • No real democracy if half of the voters is excluded
  • If our military mandate is to support the election, the mission has failed
  • Loss of credibility and support from own national population
  • We need to provide a safe and secure environment for all voters,
  • We need to ensure the voting facilities enable the female population to vote

Gender can be perceived in different ways, but in most cases it focuses on the socially and culturally constructed roles and positions of men, women, boys and girls. Gender can be described as a range of characteristics distinguishing between male and female. It deals specifically with the social differences between man and woman instead of the biological differences. When looking at gender examine the social attributes and opportunities associated with being male and female, and the relationships between men and women, as well as the relationships among men and among women. These attributes, opportunities and relationships are socially constructed and are learned through socialization processes. They are context and time-specific and changeable. Gender determines what is expected, allowed and valued in a woman or man in a given context and is part of a broader socio-cultural context.

In practice, when dealing with gender it is often in terms of equality, meaning equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for men and women. This however, does not automatically imply that the aim is for men and women to become the same but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Gender issues can be manifold. In the case of men think of structural unemployment, underprivileged men who hang around all day deprived of their role as providers of the family. Due to their frustrations and grievances they might be open to extremism which can be a way for them to seek economic and social advantages from which they are otherwise excluded. In the case of women gender related issues are often related to sexual violence where women are often victims such as the use of rape as a weapon of atrocity in conflict. In addition women are often excluded or discriminated for employment, education or political decision making is a serious issue.

A CIMIC operator should understand that gender awareness and gender perspective is essential to enhance our understanding of all groups that need consideration in the respective AOO. Having this perspective has many advantages as it might lead to better access to the local population, organizations and authorities, better information sharing and improvement of mutual understanding and respect. It will also improve situational awareness and understanding.

The following figure serves as a simplified guide how to conduct a gender analysis, looking at internal, external, participation and integration aspects, especially focusing on the tasks of CIMIC personnel.


(i.e. how do men and women take part in the CIMIC work? What affects their participation?)


(i.e. how and where do we gender mainstream in our CIMIC tasks?)


(i.e. how do we organize our own work?)

A1: Recruitment policies and equal opportunities:

  • Male and female CIMIC personnel – all functions and levels
  • Work environment
  • Access to resources and material

A3: Work structure:

  • CIMIC training
  • CIMIC assessments
  • CIMIC planning
  • CIMIC reporting
  • CIMIC lessons learned and doctrine / policy development


(i.e. how is the external situation addressed to achieve what we want?)

A2: Cooperation, support and representation:

  • Participation of local men and women
  • Interaction with both local women and men
  • Participation, interaction and cooperation with partners, including women’s organizations

A4: Mandate interpretation and execution:

  • How the main CIMIC activities are selected and prioritized
  • Execution of selected and prioritized CIMIC activities
  • Adaption to local developments

Working towards the full integration of gender perspective within NATO extends to the planning, execution and evaluation phases of NATO-led operations. All of these phases must be based on initial and regular analysis of social groups with a gender perspective.

The following concepts shall be considered in the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and the integration of gender perspective:

  1. In the framework of the comprehensive approach, make sure that risks and security for the entire population will be addressed and handled.
  2. Establish and maintain liaisons with the local population, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international organizations (lOs) at strategic, operational and tactical levels, using the appropriate civil-military co-ordination mechanisms.
  3. Ensure that education and training, including pre-deployment training, is conducted for all personnel in NATO-led operations.
  4. Encourage national programs to incorporate NATO pre-deployment gender training objectives into their internal system and training programs to ensure interoperability in exercises and operations.
  5. Encourage NATO nations and partners to share best practices and support each other’s efforts in national implementation of UNSCR 1325.
  6. Provide effective reporting and information sharing mechanisms between NATO and civilian organizations at the international level, as well as at local levels within the comprehensive approach framework.
  7. Ensure effective reporting and monitoring mechanisms regarding UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions.
  8. Establish concepts, procedures and mechanisms to address and respond to sexual violence in conflict as well as human security in general.
  9. For given operations, analyses measures available to protect against gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse and violence in situations of armed conflict.
  10. Ensure adherence to NATO Standards of Behavior and United Nations' zero tolerance on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) where applicable.
  11. Strive for a more gender balanced composition of workforce and expand the roles of women in operations and missions at all levels.
  12. Endeavour to increase representation of women throughout the NATO Command Structure and the NATO Force Structure.
  13. Strive for gender equality in the NATO Force Structure in order to conduct credible and trustworthy external work and activities on women and gender in the joint operations area.
  14. Integrate gender perspectives into planning, assessment and execution of operations.


  • Target actions based on the gender analysis. Design services to meet the different needs of women, men, boys and girls and other vulnerable groups.
  • Make sure that the population identified to be in need have equal access to services and equally participate in activities.
  • Train women and men equally.
  • Use programs to help prevent sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
  • When you collect, analyse and report on information, break down the data by sex and age.
  • Coordinate actions with all partners.
  • If you can’t get quantitative information in the first hours of a response, record the sex and age of key informants who are providing you with information on the situation, and aim for a broad spread of informants. Other sources could include available programming information, census data, health statistics and household survey data. The result would be a broad snapshot of differences.


  • Forget that women, men, boys and girls are all at risk of rape and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). Men and boys are often victims of SGBV in conflicts.
  • Favor men in livelihood programs. This could further impoverish women.
  • Fail to consider gender in all sectors of the response-e.g. poor camp design can increase the risks of SGBV, and distribution programs can create opportunities for SEA.
  • Forget that at the beginning of your mission, the gender analysis will not be perfect, so you may need to adapt your strategy and project design as your analysis improves.

For further information see checklist "Critical indicators".