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Gender Perspectives on Security Sector Reform Processes in West Africa : Case Studies of Liberia and Sierra Leone



Kristin Valasek



In order to validate the findings of the (previously conducted) needs assessment, and generate additional baseline information from a wider audience, WIPSEN-Africa and DCAF organized a series of consultative meetings on 'gender and security sector reform' with key national actors in Liberia and Sierra Leone. These meetings targeted two broad sets of actors:

1)female security sector personnel and
2)other stakeholders, namely parliamentarians, government ministries, civil society including women groups, traditional leaders, the media, and international and regional organizations such as the UN and ECOWAS.

More specifically, the objectives of the consultative meetings were as follows:

1) To create a platform for female security sector personnel to mobilize and act collectively to ensure their concerns are incorporated, and that they actively participate in SSR processes.
2) To facilitate dialogue between female security sector personnel, civil society women's groups and other actors in the SSR process.
3) To develop a 'women in the security sector' joint agenda and action plans on gender and SSR which outlines existing gaps/needs as well as actions that can be taken to address these needs.

This report gives an account of deliberations during the four consultative meetings organized.

Each meeting had unique aspects; however a common thread underlined all of them. The fact that gender and women's issues remain to be fully integrated into the security sector in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Fully acknowledging that certain initiatives have already been taken to address gender issues in SSR, six key gaps were highlighted in all the consultations.