How to integrate Gender Perspective in Military Education and Training? A Unique Regional Knowledge Tool Is Out
9 December 2022
Resulting from joint efforts of the Ministries of Defence (MoDs) and Armed Forces (AFs) of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia, with SEESAC’s expert support, the Regional Baseline Study on Integrating a Gender Perspective in Military Education and Training has just been launched.
This seminal study represents a unique regional knowledge resource that contains the baseline data on the attained level of integration of gender perspective in military education and training, as well as examples of good practice that already exist in all four systems of defence, and maps the way on how to integrate gender in military education and training.
This knowledge resource was produced by the Regional Working Group, comprised of 21 members (9 male and 12 female) nominated by their respective MoDs and AFs, with a range of relevant competencies from developing and delivering educational content in the defence system context to gender budgeting and policy-making. This highly competent group also included experienced certified military gender trainers from all four defence systems. Significantly, decision-makers and high-rank officers were actively involved in all phases of the development of the Regional Baseline Study.
The Regional Working Group was established in April 2021, when it met for the first time in a hybrid format, due to the COVID-19 protection measures, to discuss the idea of developing a joint regional study focusing on gender perspectives in military education and training. By the second meeting, held in September 2021, despite challenging circumstances due to the pandemic, the Regional Working Group agreed on the format and the content of the Regional Baseline Study as well as key milestones and time-line for finalising this pioneering task. The work was finished as planned, in June 2022 when the third and final meeting of the Regional Working Group was held in Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was at the same time the first meeting that gathered all members from the four MoDs and AFs in person, to deliberate about the study findings and agree on principal recommendations. In addition to the regional meetings, country-level meetings were organised in all four countries with SEESAC’s support, to assist with data-gathering, analysis of the information, as well implementing activities and capturing best practice examples.
Based on the study findings, a comprehensive list of recommendations and actions for further improvements in engendering military education and training has been agreed upon and included in the final chapter following the Jahorina meeting in June. By October 2022, all four MoDs reviewed and approved the Regional Baseline Study, thus demonstrating a continuing determination to ensure, through a proactive and truly innovative regional approach, their respect for the principles of gender equality and equal opportunities to which all four countries with their defence systems subscribe.
The Regional Baseline Study was launched at the 15th Regional Meeting of the Gender Equality Mechanisms in the Ministries of Defence and the Armed Forces in the Western Balkans that took place in Belgrade on 6-7 December 2022, within the regional project “Strengthening of Regional Cooperation on Gender Mainstreaming in Security Sector Reform in the Western Balkans” supported by the Kingdom of Norway and the Slovak Republic. With the support of SEESAC, the project provides the MoDs and AFs in the Western Balkans with a platform to share knowledge and develop policies contributing to ensuring long-term and sustainable inclusion of the gender perspective in the military.