Pearl Karuhanga Atuhaire and Grace Ndirangu
The international community has taken a strong stance against conflict-related sexual violence, deeming it a war crime. However, international actors are paying scant attention to sexual- and gender-based violence (SGBV) in refugee settings. Urban refugee women and girls and those in refugee camps often grapple with SGBV in their countries of asylum, long after they have fled their homes and communities. Our research among refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo currently in Kenya and Uganda has unearthed a high incidence of SGBV against refugee women and girls. Research by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) indicates that one in five refugee and displaced women experience sexual violence. Many of the survivors often have no one to turn to for protection and resort to sex work and other risky means to survive.
In this policy brief, we examine the extent of the problem, identify obstacles to progress, and recommend actions governments and humanitarian organizations can take to better protect refugees. In short, we argue that refugee settlements are not safe spaces for refugee women. Humanitarian officials, governments, and the international
community must do more to address this problem.
Luisa Ryan and Shannon Zimmerman
At the UN Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial Conference, Canada announced the launch of the Elsie Initiative on Women in Peace Operations. Through tailored technical support, the initiative aims to help troop-contributing countries recruit and retain female soldiers. It is one of the first initiatives to directly address the lack of female personnel at the deploying country level.
As one of the co-hosts of the 2017 UN Peacekeeping ministerial, the United States is in a strong position to partner in the work of the Elsie Initiative. By so doing, it can entrench the concept of gender parity in its current UN peacekeeping training programs and deployments and better lead knowledge-sharing efforts with partner militaries. The Elsie Initiative also gives the United States an opportunity to reinforce partnerships that enhance global security while bolstering its leadership in gender parity and UN reform.
Efforts such as the Elsie initiative to improve the effectiveness of peace operations will directly benefit US national interests by strengthening alliances and enabling recipient countries to take an increasing role in providing for collective and regional security.
Velomahanina T. Razakamaharavo, Luisa Ryan, and Leah Sherwood
United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 expressed a global commitment to the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda. Many policy statements and guidance on gender mainstreaming have followed in the 17 years since UNSCR 1325’s passage, yet peace operations on the ground appear little affected. They continue to overlook the many roles women play in conflict and conflict resolution, fail to engage fully with women’s organizations, and fail to include women fighters in reintegration and security sector reform programs. They even perpetrate exploitation: Sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) continues to be widespread within peace missions themselves, despite increased SEA and conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) training for operation forces. Further, peace operations have failed to address the more inclusive Gender, Peace and Security (GPS) agenda and the broader role gender plays in conflict dynamics. For example, while missions may seek to address the effects of conflict-related sexual violence on women and girls, they may miss similar impacts for male victims and their families.
Improved gender training could help ameliorate this mismatch between policy rhetoric and practice. This policy brief outlines current gender training practice, identifies gaps, and recommends ways to strengthen training in order to help peace operations personnel better understand how to apply a gender lens to their missions.
While the cybersecurity industry will require approximately six million workers to meet its projected job demand by 2019, many positions will remain unfilled without more female cybersecurity professionals. Currently, women comprise only 11 percent global cybersecurity professionals. Women’s underrepresentation in cybersecurity is not just an economic workplace issue, but also has a profound impact on the type of technologies being developed and hence impacts everyone in the digital age.
The report will explore some of the main barriers that impede women’s entry,
professional advancement, and retention in cybersecurity, including the pervasive gender
discrimination in technology professions. Next, I will examine three core reasons why it is
essential to get more women in cybersecurity, namely (1) to maximize innovation potential; (2)to expand usability of digital products to meet the needs of all consumers; and (3) to strengthen the global economy by fulfilling the cybersecurity industry’s rapidly growing job demand. Recommendations on how to dismantle the gender gap in cybersecurity and how to create in the digital age a global workforce that is safer, more efficient, and more prosperous are presented.
Jeannette Gaudry Haynie
The rise of groups like ISIS has galvanized the expansion of the global terrorism problem. While ISIS is hardly the first extremist organization to attract women and to use gendered tactics for recruitment, its formation and growth has paralleled the explosion of social media, bringing unprecedented attention to the problem. As scholars and policymakers attempt to develop coherent responses to the threats that groups like ISIS pose, three critical issues need to be addressed.
(1) What drives individuals to join extremist groups, and are these drivers different for men or women?
(2) What are common methods of recruitment, and do they differ by gender?
(3) Have states and international institutions integrated gender perspectives in their responses to radicalization and extremist violence? Do these approaches empower women to resist recruitment?
Without an integrated dialogue between the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and counterterrorism communities, the answers to these questions will remain incomplete and policy responses may fall short.
Ellen Haring and Antonieta Rico
The Combat Integration Handbook is a reference guide for combat arms leaders at the battalion level and below. It was developed to help leaders successfully integrate their units. This guide comes at an essential time as combat arms units await the assignment of the first combat arms women who are currently making their way through their training pipelines.
The 4 primary authors have more than 70 years, combined, of military service. Together they combed through thousands of pages of research, conducted interviews and hosted a working group discussion with combat arms leaders to put together this first-of-its-kind Handbook. The Handbook exclusively addresses common challenges with gender integration in combat arms units and gives leaders and Soldiers best practices for successfully navigating the change process. Learn more about the Combat Integration Handbook here.
Chantal de Jonge Oudraat and Michael E. Brown
In March 2016, WIIS launched the Women, Terrorism, and Violent Extremism program. With the generous support of the Embassy of Liechtenstein in Washington, D.C., WIIS will facilitate a series of expert roundtables to explore the role of women in terrorist and violent extremist organizations, including the gendered dimensions of radicalization. These round tables will provide a forum for bringing together an international group of experts and policymakers from the counter-terrorism and Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) communities. Key takeaways and recommendations of expert roundtables will be captured and disseminated in the form of policy briefs.
The first Policy Brief draws on the first roundtable discussion, held on March 20, 2016. This roundtable featured four noted experts: Ms. Sanam Anderlini, Co-founder and Executive Director of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN); Dr. Kathleen Kuehnast, Senior Gender Advisor at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP); Dr. Paul Pillar, former official of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and now a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution; and Dr. Lorenzo Vidino, Director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. For more on this event, see wiisglobal.org/events.
Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Sonja Stojanović-Gajić, Carolyn Washington, and Brooke Stedman
WIIS launched the 1325 Scorecard at NATO HQ on October 29, 2015. The 1325 Scorecard is a tool to evaluate how well the principles of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) are implemented within the armed forces of NATO Allies. It also provides NATO and NATO member and partner states indications of how to improve implementation. Finally, it helps to further standardization and interoperability amongst NATO Allies.
3-piece publication on the status of UNSCR 1325
- Gender Mainstreaming: Indicators for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 and Its Related Resolutions by Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Sonja Stojanović‐Gajić, Carolyn Washington, and Brooke Stedman.
- Women in Combat - Adaptation and Change in the US Military by Ellen Haring.
- The Piece Missing from Peace by Jeannette Gaudry Haynie.