Gender-Based Analysis Plus Awareness Week

A group photograph is taken during 1the Five Eyes Plus Gender Conference is held at 11 sussex on 16 May, 2017, in Ottawa, ON. Photo credit: Corporal Michael J. MacIsaac, Canadian Forces Support Unit (Ottawa) – Imaging Services ©2017 DND-MDN, Canada

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The Government of Canada’s sixth annual Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) Awareness Week took place from May 29 – June 2, to promote greater awareness and education about GBA+.

The 2017 theme was “Inclusion. Innovation. Opportunities. For the next 150.” As Canada turns 150 years old, it is looking to the future—a future where Canada leads the world in innovation and inclusive growth. It takes a wide range of perspectives, insights and expertise to develop and implement new ideas. As Canada works to position itself as a world leader in innovation, it needs to harness the talents of all Canadians. That’s where GBA+ comes in.

GBA+ is an analytical tool used to achieve equal outcomes for all sectors of the population. It is a framework of considerations that takes into account gender and several other identity factors such as age, language, culture, ethnicity, education, etc. When applied, GBA+ helps improve the understanding of the gender perspective aspects of a given context or situation. Essentially, using GBA+ is like putting yourself into another person’s shoes to better understand how they are being affected by a situation or context.

To date, 54 583 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and Department of National Defence (DND) employees have completed the Status of Women Canada (SWC) “Introduction to GBA+” course. This is a free, online course that can be accessed and completed by anyone. You can find at the following link: www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/gba-acs/course-cours-en.html.

Another useful source of information to help you consider gender perspectives in your activities is the SWC “Demystifying GBA+” Job Aid tool. It gives suggestions about the key questions to ask through each step of GBA+. You can find at the following link: www.gcpedia.gc.ca/wiki/GBA%2B_(Gender-based_Analysis%2B)/Manualsguides#Guides

Five Eye Plus Gender Conference

To support GBA+ Awareness Week, CAF hosted the first Five Eyes Plus Gender Conference from May 16 – 18 in Ottawa. The first international military conference of its kind, the Conference provided a platform to examine, discuss and collaborate with partner nations regarding the integration of gender perspectives in operations. The Conference brought together approximately 65 military and civilian Gender Advisors and/or personnel who are directly involved in the gender perspective portfolio of their respective country. They hailed from a variety of locations and organizations: Canada, Australia, Finland, Germany, United States of America, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, NATO and the UN. Best practices and lessons observed were shared through the use of presentations, panel discussions and case study group work.

Conducting conferences such as this help the CAF to continue building upon earlier efforts and achievements in incorporating gender perspectives into CAF operational planning and missions. The integration of gender perspectives into CAF responses to armed conflict, as well as conflict prevention and capacity-building efforts, enables us to better protect populations at risk. By understanding the needs and capacities of diverse groups of men, women, boys and girls, we can better adapt actions that contribute to long term peace and stability for affected populations.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325

The United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, approved by the UN in 2000, was the first instrument to deal exclusively with women in situations of armed conflict, acknowledging that such conflicts have a differential impact on men, women, girls, and boys. It further noted that planning for and addressing these differential impacts would enhance conflict prevention and resolution efforts, as well as the effectiveness of UN peace support or peacekeeping missions. From a military perspective, UNSCR 1325 underscores the importance of accounting for these types of considerations during the planning and execution of military operations. It also highlights that nations have a responsibility to protect populations at risk during armed conflicts and humanitarian disasters.

The Government of Canada (GC) is committed to the effective implementation of all these resolutions as part of a broader commitment to the protection of civilians, particularly children, in armed conflict. The UN Secretary-General, in response to UNSCR 1325, requested that Member States develop their own national implementation plans. Canada pursued this, creating the 2010 Canada National Action Plan (CNAP) for the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). In CNAP, Canada committed to the integration of gender perspectives across all government departments by assessing the implications for women and men, girls and boys of any planned action, including the design of policies associated with peace operations, fragile states and conflict affected situations. CNAP directs all government departments to implement the WPS initiative and to report their progress. DND/CAF is highlighted in CNAP as having a key role to play in advancing those indicators and ensuring that Canada’s commitments under CNAP are met.

The CAF is actively taking steps to integrate gender perspectives into the analysis, planning, execution and evaluation of all its operations. For example, in January 2016, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) directed the CAF to implement the tasks of the CNAP, as well as comply with GC direction to integrate GBA+ into CAF planning and operations. As a result of this, several achievements have been made. The CAF has established Gender Advisor positions at the strategic and operational levels, where they serve as specialist advisors to commanders for the overall integration of gender perspectives into planning, execution, and evaluation. Since 2016, the CAF has included GBA+ online training as part of its common professional development and the course is now a prerequisite for over five key CAF Professional Development programs, promoting GBA+ education and awareness at all rank levels. In essence, the CDS Directive has provided personnel with a framework for the CAF to achieve its overarching goal of integrating GBA+ across the CAF to the degree that it is always considered an essential and integral element of all CAF activities.

The CAF’s first deployed Gender Advisor

The summer of 2017 will see the CAF deploy its first Gender Advisor on operations. Major Micheal Duteau, from Joint Task Force Central Headquarters, will deploy to Latvia as the Joint Task Force Europe Gender Advisor. As such, to best provide specialist advice to his Commander, he will be required to develop a thorough understanding of the cultural and social aspects of countries within the European theatre. His tasks will involve seeking out, recommending and coordinating appropriate opportunities and activities that will promote the increased consideration and use of gender perspectives across all CAF European operations.

CAF members and Gender Studies

Lieutenant Dereck Aubin, a CELE officer working at the Strategic Joint Staff, is currently pursuing a Masters in Women and Gender Studies. Lt Aubin believes and promotes the importance to fight for gender equality. His past experience with the integration of gender perspectives into operational planning occurred while he was working with CANSOFCOM CJIRU and also while volunteering for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Batawa Lions Club, the Red Cross, and Children’s Aid as well as various hospitals and charities. Through his experiences and relationships he has seen how essential it is to increase awareness of how conflicts and struggles affect various groups differently.

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