A Summary of UN Handbook on Gender Training

In the topic, WHY GENDER MATTERS, METHOLOGY, the proper approaches to Peace Support Operations is captured clearly. Any personnel engaged in Peace Support Operations should be at home with them in order to achieve an effective result.

There is a strong need for the personnel to understand the interconnecting strands that underlines the military, political, economic and social life of the community of the operations in order to improve relation with members.  Understanding that communities consist of different people with different needs and priorities will help the personnel to improve on the planning of responses thus facilitating overall achievement of mission target. In all,  an increased level of sustainable peace should be the target.

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Furthermore, the FOUR CASE STUDIES open up vistas on the need for enlightenment. The Iraq case study shows that in order to save life, there is the need to recognise women’s roles and responsibilities in a crisis situation. Men alone could not have been assigned to distribute food items.
Also the rights of the community of operations should be protected as seen in the Cambodian case study. Peacekeeping missions should avoid creating negative atmosphere in the host communities by laying down clear policies and practices based on respect for human rights. Similarly, for effective conditions for peace and stability to be created, no organisation should be overlooked. For instance, after 28 yrs of violence and ethnic conflict, Sudanese women came together to stop the violence through a peace conference which is a non-violent approach to inter-tribal conflict.
This shows the fact that women’s organisations are also key to establishing peace and should not be overlooked. The fourth case study throws more light on enhancing the people’s ability to deal with crisis and rebuilding society. It goes further to state that women and men feel and participate in conflict differently.
Their experiences have a role to play in post war era. For instance in Colombia, many rural communities had a lot of examples wherein women were restricted to the houses, men did all the running around. The implication  is that in the case of eventual displacement to urban areas, the women survived more with their skills than men. The women turned their domestic skills into jobs.
Note that during crises or wars, gender perspective must be applied to the Peace Support Operations. There is the need to understand what gender perspective does and does not involve in such Peace Support Operations. While women should not be focused on exclusively, there is need to look at the inequalities and differences between women and men. That will enable resources, which focus on women’s peculiar needs, to be mapped out. Also the operation does not concern itself with treating women only as a vulnerable group.
There is the need to note that any of the genders can be harmed. However, women need not be reduced to victims. Peacekeeping must consider the inequalities and differences between women and men thereby structuring resources to that effect. This will enable an easy check on overall impact of the intervention strategies.
Again, the PSO should note that men and women differ in their thinking  and should not focus only on employment equity issues within organisations rather should recognises that equal opportunities for women within organisations is only one aspect of a concern for gender equality. A criticism to this is that there is no clear way of measuring the amount of attention given to women. It may be over done.
In FILLING THE GAPS: A VIRTUAL DISCUSSION ON GENDER, PEACE AND SECURITY RESEARCH, ten key recommendations were made by  90 academics and research professional drawn from across various fields in Oct 2008, The dialogued for three weeks.
Their recommendations bothered basically on identifying gaps in gender, peace and security research and efforts to fill up such lacunae through effective research methods and tools. However, the group should clearly understand that there is often a wide gap between theories or research and practical life situations. While life is larger than logic, all efforts are always geared towards bridging that.
There is a link between feminism, militarism and human right. It could be extrapolated from the laid out facts in the four treated topics. While every human being deserves his/her fundamental human rights and privileges, that of the women folk should not be viewed from any less spectrum at all. Military officials, who are often peacekeepers in conflict zones, should learn to uphold the human rights of member of their host communities with an eye not to look down on women in any bit.
Cases have shown where women are receiving inhuman or less treatment from them.  Designed peace and reconstruction programmes must show that women are not just mere entities but participants in such communities.

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