UN-sponsored meeting calls for more male facilitators in gender training

26 June 2007

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 the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW) and its partners in Santo Domingo.

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 the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW) and its partners in Santo Domingo.

The e-discussion, supported also by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, issued its recommendations today on the eve of a three-day “training of trainers” in gender equality for personnel from various UN peacekeeping missions at the Institute’s headquarters in the Dominican Republic.

>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, UN-INSTRAW said in a news release.

With special attention given to UN peacekeepers, international gender experts representing academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, 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,” said Carmen Moreno, UN-INSTRAW Director. “Knowing more about how differently men and women experience conflict helps security personnel respond better to gender-based violence and prevent sexual abuse,” she added.

“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 observed.

According to gender and security specialists, gender training is more effective when initiated at the early stage, integrated directly into other training programmes, and conducted 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 which focuses on the development of a hands-on toolkit on how to integrate gender issues into security sector reforms.

Based on a request from the experts, 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, UN-INSTRAW said.

 

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