UN Women for the empowerment of future women leaders in defence
The integration of gender perspectives in the defence sector is becoming increasingly important. Equally, gender dimensions in the protection of civilians during conflicts and military operations are becoming of particular importance. Therefore, promoting gender equality in the armed forces, and other defence units, requires changes in the institutional culture, together with innovative and transformative actions, both globally and in Georgia.
The Ministry of Defence of Georgia (MoD) plays a significant role in implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. Despite progress made towards empowering women, the Ministry’s Organizational Climate Assessment (2019) and Participatory Gender Audit (2021) provided evidence that female representation in the country’s defence forces remains low, which acts alongside the barriers that affect the full and equal career advancement opportunities for women.
Based on these assessments, the MoD, with support from the British Embassy, UN Women and the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF), has launched a new programme – “Women in Defense: Building the cadre of future women leaders in defence” – to promote female participation in the country’s defence forces. Significantly, the first steps of its implementation have already taken place – on 7-8 June a working meeting was held with the high-ranking leadership, including 30 representatives of the Georgian Defence Forces and the MoD.
The meeting itself aimed at conceptualizing the importance of women’s involvement and leadership in national defence and security, and the identification of the specific actions needed for their career advancement. Notably, during the event, international experts from NATO and its partner countries shared their knowledge and the best practices on achieving gender equality in the field of defence.
“Currently, women make up 8% of the Georgian National Guard, while two years ago, there were no women at all. It is also noteworthy that the trend is growing, women are showing increasing interest; the opinion that the army is not a place for women is no longer prevalent” – stated Brigadier General Roman Jokhadze during the meeting. After the discussion, the participants proceeded to outline specific plans and actions that further support gender equality and women’s leadership.
The workshop was held within the framework of the UN Women project – “Accelerating Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Georgia” – and supported by the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund of the UK Government.