“Leadership is vital to success”

All managers must be on board in order to create a gender equal organization. Therefore, FBA offers gender mainstreaming training and individual coaching for leaders in peace operations. The EU Police and Rule of Law Mission for the Palestinian Territory is one of the organizations receiving support from FBA.

Twenty years have passed since the UN Security Council adopted its first resolution on women, peace and security. Since then, nine additional resolutions have been adopted, clearly defining that all efforts for peace and security must have a gender equality perspective.

To further the implementation of the resolutions, FBA offers training for managers in international peace operations on how to institutionalize gender mainstreaming in order to identify and address gender inequalities in everyday work. In EUPOL COPPS, an EU mission tasked with assisting the Palestinian Authority in building functioning police and justice institutions, managers have first received basic training, and then been provided with individual coaching sessions once a month.

– I did not know much about the concept of gender mainstreaming before the training. It opened my eyes to the area, says Bo Bleeg, project cell coordinator in EUPOL COPPS and deputy head of the Projects and Reporting Unit.

– Now I better understand that a gender perspective is needed already when planning a project. You need to look at how it will include and affect women and men. You have to ask the right questions to be able to establish a solid baseline in order to design good projects and interventions. I also focus more on gathering gender-specific statistics now, to see how our activities include and affect men and women. At the same time, the EU Member States have started to ask its missions for more gender-specific reporting.

According to Clemens Mueller, deputy head of the Rule of Law Section in EUPOL COPPS, the mission has a strong framework for gender mainstreaming. The senior management is deeply engaged and have adopted a gender equality strategy, and a network of so called gender focal points has been established. Their role is to support the implementation of the strategy in all the different parts of the mission.

– As a line manager, I bridge the gap between the senior leadership and the operational part of the mission. In my opinion, my role is to motivate my team to work with a gender perspective. Leadership is vital to success, Clemens says.

He adds that the individual coaching he receives each month boosts his confidence while taking on this role. The training and coaching provided by FBA complements the mission’s own efforts for gender mainstreaming.

– I have received many trainings throughout my career, and you easily forget what you learn during a one-day workshop. The coaching is long-term. Now that I have a mentor, who is ready to step in and discuss questions that have arisen in my daily work, it is much easier to put theory from the basic training into practice, Clemens says.

Bostjan Smolej, acting head of the Police Advisory Section that supports the civilian Palestinian police authority, explains that he is often involved in hands-on, operational issues, and that the training has inspired him in this work.

– For example, we have supported the Palestinian Police in setting up a hotline for reporting gender-based violence and domestic violence, and we are particularly supporting them in their efforts to raise awareness of people in order to call and report incidents. We also advice the Palestinian police on how to treat women and men equally. Women and girls have a right to be treated as well as men and boys, Bostjan says.

But you have to allow yourself to take one small step at a time, Bo Bleeg underlines.

– I think it applies to all cross-cutting perspectives that must be taken into consideration in all our activities. For example, the gender equality perspective, or the human rights, environmental and anti-corruption perspective.

– Although gender equality is sometimes a sensitive issue in Palestine, like in many other places. Traditions defining the roles of men and women are sometimes challenged by international legal norms and treaties that Palestine has ratified and is obliged to follow. Working with these questions is very complex, Clemens Mueller says.

– I have a police perspective and for me, the approach is pretty straightforward. The police service must see to the needs of both men and women. It is key for effective policing, Bostjan Smolej concludes.

Photo 1: EUPOL COPPS staff meeting with Palestinian women.

Photo 2: Clemens Mueller (left) at a work meeting.

Photo 3: Bo Bleeg (left) and Bostjan Smolej (right).

Please note that the photos were taken before emergency measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic were implemented, such as face covering and social distancing requirements.

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