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News | June 10, 2015

SACEUR Gender Advisor: Protecting Women Essential to NATO/UN Peacekeeping Success

By Sam Marrero

As part of a continuing academic focus on Women, Peace and Security, CISA and INSS held a joint brown-bag event on Wednesday, 10 June with Ms. Charlotte Isaksson, Gender Advisor to Supreme Allied Commander Europe & Allied Command Operations.

Ms. Isaksson spoke about NATO’s efforts to integrate gender across its operations processes as part of implementing the United Nations Security Council (UNSCR) Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. UNSCR 1325 calls for increased participation of women and incorporated gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts.

International armed conflict has a disproportionate impact on women in terms of gender-based violence, rape and other forms of sexual abuse. Channeling peace-keeping efforts to protect women from sexual violence, a tactic of war in conflict zones, is essential for the success of NATO and UN peacekeeping efforts.

Women are also active agents in the prevention and resolution of conflicts. Adequately recognizing the role and influence of native women in conflict zones can yield benefits for conflict resolution and intelligence gathering, for instance. Speaking on the power of harnessing intelligence, Ms. Isaksson shared an anecdote about how the first two times she’d heard about ISIS were from concerned voices emanating from womens’ organizations in Afghanistan.

Ms. Isaksson was the first woman to join the Swedish Artillery, having done so as an officer in 1988. Her early experiences with organizational gender inequity led her to seek an end to gender discrimination in the military and her current role as gender advisor.