Webinar “Gender Equality and In/Stability in Africa”


Executive Summary

Empowering women is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do: it makes countriessafer and more stable. NATO is determined to make a difference, including through our training andoperations”. (NATO SG announcing Clare Hutchinson's appointment as Special Representative forWomen, Peace and Security in 2018)

On February 28, 2019, the NATO Strategic Direction– South HUB (NSD-S) and Three Stones International held an online chat forum to discuss “Gender Equality and In/Stability inAfrica”. During the daylong event, NSD-S Hub personnel engaged with 70 community andcivil society participants, including individuals from communities, NGOs, think tanks, andacademia, from 17 African countries (DRC, Uganda, Algeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya,Tanzania, S. Sudan, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Liberia, Egypt, andZimbabwe) and 8 non-African countries (Turkey, China, US, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Canada,and UK).

Key Results

Diverse and thoughtful inputs were provided by participants spanning six topics. The main outcome was gender equality is a process that needs to be continuously pushed forward inorder to reach sustainable levels to support stability and security in Africa. However, this must be done in an inclusive way and with consideration for possible counter productive effects. There were questions about NATO and gender policies, and what NATO is doing in this space.

The main points discussed by participants included:

- To achieve gender equality, men need to be involved. This is important to reduceGender-Based Violence (GBV) and to train men, including boys, in gender equality.Without awareness from men, gender equality and women empowerment can resultin even more violence.

- Equal access to literacy and health is fundamental for future stability. Women literacytranslates to empowerment for all the community (children first) and improveseconomic and social situations.

- Women leaders and women in decision-making positions think more aboutsustainable solutions for the well-being of the community. Examples of best practiceson countering violent extremism (CVE), peace mediation, climate change, and aparticipant mentioned an example from Libya on how women leaders have an impact.

- UNSCR 1325 is considered important to lead the way but needs to be implementedon the ground, not just on paper. There are currently no monitoring and evaluationmechanisms and not all countries have National Action Plans (NAP).

- Increasing the number of female law enforcement personnel promotes prevention of GBV and staff needs to be trained on gender awareness and women’s rights. Awareness should be raised against GBV also in the communities and with local administrations.

- Gender equality is a factor for more stability but not without nuances. Genderequality should be strategically reached with gender equity and constitutions or lawssupporting gender equality. They should be effectively applied and not remain on paper.

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