“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

Meet the youth fighting for peace in Iraq

Earlier this year, FBA started a programme for young peacebuilders in Iraq, in order to strengthen them in their efforts for a positive development. Right now, the second training session is being held in the city of Erbil. We invite you to meet some of the participants.

2019-12-04 15:33

Latest news

IN THE FIELD

Read our publications

Image description

Insights from the Inside: Women’s Mediation Networks as a Tool for Influencing Peace Processes

Civil society-led networks of women have for decades worked hard to promote peace in conflict areas around the world, and lately, a new wave of women's mediation networks are being established that are led by states or regional organizations. All these networks share a collective aim: To promote women's inclusion and influence in mediated peace processes.

Documents
Attributes
Author:
FBA, Uppsala University, PRIO
Year:
2019

THE FBA BLOG

  • Posted by Jessica Rothman

    Peace-making and cheese-making in Georgia

    Exactly ten years had passed since I last worked in Georgia, when I returned for my deployment to the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM), in the country that has a special place in my heart. I arrived with so much curiosity and excitement, wondering how Georgia had developed and recovered after the war in 2008. The first thing that struck me was the condition of the cars, where were all the dilapidated Ladas and Volgas that used ... Read entire post »

    2019-12-05 11:19
  • Posted by Eric Mellado-Åhlin

    Revising the UN guidelines for support to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants: a high-hanging fruit

    One of my first tasks as a desk officer at FBA, working with disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants, was to assist in arranging a conference in Stockholm. As the conference approached, I understood that the goal – to unite the 25 UN agencies of the Inter-Agency Working Group on DDR and come to agreement on the way forward for the revision of the Integrated DDR Standards (IDDRS) – was more complicated than I ... Read entire post »

    2019-11-26 16:22
  • Posted by Kuisma Kinnunen

    From policy to practice – gender as a perspective

    As a trainer, what could be better than to be part of a multinational group with a variety of backgrounds, eagerly wanting to learn new skills? Especially when you get to be the course participant for a change.

    I had a dual aim when I recently participated in the Gender Perspective in the EU Common Security and Defence Policy Course, organised by FBA under the auspices of the European Security and Defence College. Besides learning new gender ... Read entire post »

    2019-10-23 11:27
Photo

Saba Nowzari

Saba Nowzari is expert on Mali, the Middle East and women, peace and security

More about our experts

Upcoming courses

Photo

Our partner countries

FBA is part of Sweden’s development aid within the area of peace and security

Read more about the countries where we work

Twitter