Georgia’s security sector takes effective steps to integrate gender perspective

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Meeting of the representatives of the Ministry of Defence with the DCAF. Photo: UN Women
Meeting of the representatives of the Ministry of Defence with the DCAF. Photo: UN Women

One of the important aspects of integrating gender perspective into the security sector of Georgia is the effective implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. To this end, UN Women is collaborating with the DCAF - Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance to implement number of initiatives.

First, this partnership includes to deepend the work on gender mainstreaming within the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Defence of Georgia and to support other public institutions, such as the National Security Council, the Georgian Intelligence Service and the State Security Service, in integrating gender equality principles as well as the WPS agenda in Georgia.

At this stage, the integration of gender perspective into the security sector of Georgia is primarily hindered by existing stereotypes. Speaking about barriers to women, Megan Bastick, a gender and security fellow at the DCAF, notes that the challenges are largely linked with social attitudes: “women are considered by male leaders as less committed because of their responsibilities for children. This translates into women being passed over for training opportunities or being steered into career paths perceived as less demanding. These stereotypes undermine women without children as well.”

Dr. Bastick believes that overcoming these barriers requires parents to share childcare responsibilities, in order to ensure that women have more opportunities in the workplace. She further explains: “Security sector institutions can do a lot in the shorter term. They can commit to equal opportunities for women, track and share their progress, support women to organize and advocate for themselves, and make day-to-day changes in workplace policies and practices that overcome barriers to women.”

It is noteworthy that the initiatives implemented under the cooperation of UN Women and the DCAF are based on the steps needed to remove these barriers. Specifically, employees of the institutions taking the first steps towards gender mainstreaming will be offered with introductory trainings, while those who have been working on WPS agenda for years will receive support from the DCAF’s experts to further their progress and learn best practices.

Activities to integrate gender perspective into the security sector, as well as the cooperation with DCAF, are part of the UN Women project “Accelerating Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Georgia”. The project is supported by the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund of the Government of the United Kingdom.