“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

Research has to reach out with results that can be put into action

After 20 years with the women, peace and security agenda we are still far from the goals where women’s participation in peace processes is a key issue. The UN Secretary General has called on international actors to look into their ways of working. To what extent can research help us develop the work for peace and security to become more efficient?

2020-12-18 11:47

Read our publications

""

Youth, Peace and Security Adviser’s Handbook

Never before in history have there been so many young people on the planet. A very important cornerstone for reaching sustainable peace and security is to ensure that young people have the rights, tools and opportunities, to participate in a meaningful manner in statebuilding and peacebuilding processes.

Documents
Attributes
Author:
FBA
Year:
2020

THE FBA BLOG

  • Posted by Hanna Bertelman

    Creating space for dialogue in Colombia

    In Colombia, four years after the signing of the historic peace agreement between the government and the FARC guerrilla, local civil society actors are a pivotal force for promoting change. The FBA, together with CIASE, a network of women´s organizations, and the Colombian National Police is enabling a space for joint learning for civil society actors and police officers on human security, leadership, and dialogue and mediation.

    As most of those who have seen a peace process ... Read entire post »

    2020-12-16 12:44
  • Posted by Annika Folkeson

    Avenues for accountability and participation: harnessing the power of the streets

    While much of the world awaits the upcoming US presidential elections in November, Iraq remains ensnared in its own deliberations over elections. Following the protests that escalated significantly in October 2019, the government resigned and early elections are now set for June 2021.

    The lack of jobs and public services, as well as rampant corruption, are among the grievances that have set off demonstrations across much of southern and central Iraq, as well as parts of Kurdistan ... Read entire post »

    2020-10-22 12:19
  • Posted by Minna Naucler

    ‘Defund the police’ and reforming the security sector

    In the midst of the pandemic, riots and unrest continues in the US over the recent cases of police brutality that resulted in the deaths of several African American individuals. While the Black Lives Matter movement continues to draw attention to the structural racism and inequalities of the American society, one of the slogans of the movement is ‘defund the police’ – seemingly meaning to disband or even abolish the police and give their funding to… ... Read entire post »

    2020-09-30 12:26
""

Johanna Malm

Johanna is expert on the Democratic Republic of Congo

More about our experts

Upcoming courses

""

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