“A Gender Adviser must develop a thick skin”

– Building trust is key. No-one will listen to your advice if they don’t trust you. Fabrice Ramadan, one of the trainers, oversees the 21 participants at the FBA’s new course for Gender Advisers. Most of them work in international peace operations, and have come to Sandö in Sweden to develop their professional skills.

– Being a Gender Adviser in an international peace operation is like being scaffolding. You are there to offer support. The day you leave, your partners in the host country must be able to stand on their own feet, Fabrice continues.

He has extensive experience from the field. The participants listen carefully to him. They all work as Gender Advisers, or have similar positions, in peace operations carried out by the EU, OSCE or UN, or in UN agencies like UN Women or UNDP.

It is not an easy job. Encountering resistance is common, Fabrice says.
– We work with peace and security, gender equality has nothing to do with it. You may get that reaction.

There is a murmuring in the room. The participants are all too familiar with the issue. Someone has been given the nick name “Miss Gender Balance” at work. Someone has been told that gender equality is a dangerous thing, which ultimately might lead to all women becoming lesbians and leaving their husbands. Someone has heard that men working with gender related issues are either gay, or just pretending to be interested in equality in order to pursue women.
– Sometimes you get disillusioned. A Gender Adviser must develop a thick skin, Fabrice says.

Is there a good way to face resistance? The participants get to discuss this question in small groups. When the groups reconvene, they are all in conclusion with each other. Instead of getting angry, it is better to be patient and to try to explain why it is important to take gender aspects into consideration in peace operations.

Being friendly, building trust and making people listen is key, Fabrice says. If you achieve that, you can make proper difference as a Gender Adviser.

FBA’s Gender Adviser Course 2014

Held: 16–21 November
At: Sandö, Sweden
Participants: 21

Participants’ voices

Salah Hammad

From: Sudan
Working as: Head of the Human Rights Department at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Magda Ahmed

From: Sudan
Working as: Gender Officer at United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)

Chris Taylor

From: United Kingdom
Working as: Monitor/Gender Focal Point in the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia

MORE FROM HOME

Training for women peacebuilders in Colombia

Colombia has elected a new president. It remains to be seen how this will affect the ongoing peace process. FBA’s support for a peaceful development in the country continues nevertheless. During summer, FBA arranged a training on security, dialogue and mediation for women’s organizations in Colombia.

2018-08-20 14:38

Read our publications

Image description

Una perspectiva de género en la construcción de la paz

This training manual has been developed to provide an introduction in Spanish to the policy framework on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) and its follow-up resolutions on women, peace and security.

Documents
Attributes
Author:
Gabriela Elroy
Year:
2018

IN THE FIELD

THE FBA BLOG

  • Posted by Carl Fredrik Birkoff

    Cross-border cooperation between Ethiopia and Kenya for conflict prevention and peacebuilding

    Within the framework of the strategy for Sweden’s regional development cooperation with sub-Saharan Africa 2016-2021 FBA is expected to contribute to increased regional integration and strengthened capacity to address cross-border challenges and opportunities at regional levels. This assignment is very much in line with the innovative, comprehensive and integrated cross-border programme between Ethiopia and Kenya initiated by the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments, in partnership with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the United Nations.

    During the ... Read entire post »

    2018-08-16 15:20
  • Posted by Ben Rhee

    Action for Peacekeeping: What role for the Challenges Forum?

    On March 28 this year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the UN’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) agenda. At the heart of the initiative lies an urgent call to mobilise support for peace operations, which are increasingly faced with a wide-array of complex challenges.

    Operating in some of the most difficult environments and intractable conflicts on the planet, UN and multilateral peace operations today are dealing with a host of issues and unrealistic expectations by the international community ... Read entire post »

    2018-07-11 10:11
  • Posted by Andreas Berg

    When keeping the peace means keeping your distance

    Summertime in Tbilisi has arrived, carried in on the back of dramatic thunderstorms sweeping in from the Black Sea, pouring down enough rain to transform the steep streets of the old town into short-lived rivers, and leaving daily temperatures slightly higher after every visit. Soon even such weather-driven drama will dissipate however, settling into a steady 35 degree heat during July and August, predictable enough to allow for the planning of cooling hikes in the Caucasus ... Read entire post »

    2018-06-27 14:10
Photo

Stefan Åström

Stefan Åström is expert on Latin America and disarmament of ex-combatants

More about our experts

Upcoming courses

Twitter