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Gender and SSR Research

Research publications 

DCAF conducts and commissions research to identify needs, gather good practices and develop practical tools to support the creation of gender-sensitive security sector institutions. Our publications are aimed at a variety of stakeholders: security sector reform practitioners, policymakers, civil society groups and security sector institutions. They draw input from our own in-country programmes around gender and security sector reform, and wherever possible from local partners and actors’ experience.

The gender and security programme’s key research publications are:

Gender & Security Sector Reform Toolkit
In 2008, DCAF published its groundbreaking Gender & Security Sector Reform Toolkit  in cooperation with the OSCE/ODIHR  and UN-INSTRAW (now part of UN Women).  Designed for policymakers and practitioners, the Toolkit:

  • Sets out why gender is important to SSR processes
  • Presents practical strategies to integrate gender into SSR
  • Includes examples of good practices from around the world
  • Provides material from which to develop training on gender issues
  • Compiles international laws and standards on gender relevant to SSR

The Gender & Security Sector Reform Toolkit  contains 12 Tools and Practice Notes focused on integrating gender in: police reform, defence reform, justice reform, penal reform, border management, civil society and parliamentary oversight of the security sector, and security policymaking; private military and security companies; training for the security sector; and assessment,  monitoring and evaluation. In 2010, responding to the adoption of new Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security, DCAF added a 13th Tool  on “Implementing the Women, Peace and Security Resolutions in Security Sector Reform”.

Guidance Notes on Integrating Gender into Security Sector Oversight

In 2014, DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR  and the OSCE Gender Section and published a series of guidance notes on gender and security sector oversight:

The guidance notes focus on integrating gender into systems and processes within police services and armed forces, and on equipping external oversight bodies, such as ombuds institutions and national human rights institutions, to appropriately prioritise gender, drawing on good practice from across the OSCE area. They contain checklists, examples and a self assessment table.

Preventing and Responding to Sexual and Domestic Violence against Men: A Guidance Note for Security Sector Institutions

In 2014, DCAF published a guidance note to help security sector institutions to provide a more effective, gender-sensitive approach to preventing and responding to sexual and domestic violence against men. Historically, sexual and domestic violence was thought to almost exclusively affect women, yet recent studies in several countries have indicated that there are also large numbers of male victims. These men often share similar security needs with female victims, but they also experience gender-specific barriers to accessing security and justice.

A Women’s Guide to Security Sector Reform

In 2013, DCAF and the Institute for Inclusive Security published a resource for women’s organisations to support them in engaging with the security sector and reform processes. The Women’s Guide provides both information on the security sector and tools for action. It draws on the rich and varied experiences of women in civil society from across the world and shares examples of practical, and sometimes innovative, ways to influence reform from the grassroots.

Gender Self-Assessment Guide for the Police, Armed Forces and Justice Sector

Published in 2011, this self-assessment guide is a tool for assessing the gender responsiveness of a security sector institution, particularly designed for use by police services, armed forces and justice sector institutions, and those working with them.

Examples from the Ground

Published in 2011, this compilation brings together mini case studies of ways in which gender has been integrated in different security sector institutions around the world. These examples are useful for policymakers, trainers and educators in understanding and demonstrating the linkages between gender and SSR.

Research for regional projects

DCAF’s regional gender and security projects in West Africa and the Western Balkans include research activities, such as assessments of gender and SSR in Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Details of these publications are included on the webpages of the respective projects.

Research on gender-based violence

In 2007, DCAF published Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict: Global Overview and Implications for the Security Sector. This documents conflict-related sexual violence in fifty countries over the past twenty years, and explores strategies for security and justice actors to prevent and respond to sexual violence in armed conflict and post-conflict situations.

In 2005, DCAF published Women in an Insecure World: Violence Against Women — Facts, Figures and Analysis. This book is an extensive review of the problem and a collection of good practices to prevent and respond to violence against women. The book was the basis for a 2007 documentary and DVD Resource Package co-produced with Amnesty International.

Research for external and internal publications

DCAF staff is frequently asked to contribute its expertise on external and internal publications as authors, editors or reviewers. Work written by DCAF’s gender team ha included: Section 9 of the OECD-DAC Handbook on Security System Reform, “Integrating Gender Awareness and Equality;” a chapter on “Gender and Democratic Security Governance” in the 2008  Public Oversight of the Security Sector: A Handbook for Civil Society Organizations; Chapter 4 of the 2008 SIPRI Yearbook, “Integrating gender in post-conflict security sector reform ;” chapters in DCAF’s 2010 and 2012 Yearly Books; a chapter in the 2014 Small Arms Survey, “Converging Agendas: Women, peace, security, and small arms;” and a review article for the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding.