How did it happen that the positions of Gender Advisors were created and Gender Advisors appointed within the NATO military structure?

Following the violent experience of wars in the XX century and changing global context of peace and security, in the late 1990’ women’s groups came together and pushed for gender perspective to be included in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) international peace and security agenda.

In 2000, the UNSC unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security recognizing for the first time that gender inequalities exacerbated during the conflict impede the establishment of sustainable peace and development. The UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions acknowledge the disproportionate impact that armed conflict has on women and children, and calls upon international actors to introduce specific measures to remedy this.

NATO as a political and military regional international organization committed to international peace, sees the integration of gender perspective as one of the methods to improve its operational effectiveness and to provide the most adequate response to the crisis.

"Recognizing the urgent need to mainstream a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations"

(United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325)

In 2007, NATO and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) adopted its first policy on the implementation of UNSCR 1325. The policy paved the way for further integration of gender perspective and gender balance within NATO military and civilian structure, and gender mainstreaming within the NATO policies and programmes. In 2010 the North Atlantic Council adopted the first result-oriented NATO Action Plan for the implementation of the NATO/EAPC Policy on Women, Peace and Security, which is revised every two years. Finally, in 2012 the NATO Secretary General appointed a first NATO Special Representative for Women, Peace, and Security – the position currently held by Ambassador Marriët Schuurman.

Whereas the above-mentioned developments occurred at the political level, the adoption of the Bi-SC Directive 40-1 in 2009 further revised in 2012, was a milestone achievement for the NATO military component. The Directive gives clear guidelines and instructions for the implementation of the Resolution 1325 for all levels of the NATO military structure. It also provides for the integration of gender perspective into NATO planning, operations, missions, education, training, exercises and evaluation, and for gender mainstreaming in all NATO policies and programmes in all areas and at all levels. The implementation goes well only together with the institutionalisation, and the latter could only be achieved through the establishment of gender advisory positions throughout the organization. Therefore, the Directive establishes and clarifies the role of Gender Advisors and Gender Focal Points, who are responsible for providing an advice and operational support on the implementation of the Resolution 1325 to the Commander and NATO personnel.

whoweare2016 250Where the HQ SACT Gender Advisor is placed within the HQ SACT structure?

The position of a Gender Advisor at HQ Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) is placed within the Staff Advisory Group to the SACT. The HQ SACT Gender Advisor provides a direct support and reports to both SACT, and the Joint Force Trainer (JFT). There are several acting Focal Points for gender mainstreaming within the HQ SACT directorates and branches. The HQ SACT Gender Advisor works alone, unless temporarily supported by an intern. The HQ SACT Gender Advisor also acts as a Children and Armed Conflict Focal Point within the HQ SACT.


Based on the Six Tracks of the NATO/EAPC Policy:

  1. Mainstreaming in policies, programmes and documentation
  2. Cooperation with International Organizations and civil society
  3. Education and training (ACT)
  4. Operations
  5. Public Diplomacy
  6. National Initiatives

The NATO Action Plan aims to “mainstream gender” into all areas related to current and future planning and conduct of operations. Four focus areas:

  1. Crisis Management, Operational Planning and Execution
  2. Training and Education for Operational Aspects
  3. Operational execution
  4. Reports and Reporting Systems

The NATO/EAPC Action Plan

The NATO/EAPC Action Plan is to support the implementation of the revised NATO/EAPC Policy for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and Related Resolutions. The time period to be covered by this Action Plan is two years thereby the revision date will be June 2016.

The NATO Action Plan supports greater synergy and more effective implementation of UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions through cooperation with and between international organisations. The Plan also contains the integration of UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions into curricula of training and education activities at all levels. Such integrated gender training should also include modules on analytical methods and approaches for understanding the level of risks for conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, as well as modules on how to counter such behaviour, including measures that take the protection needs of the civilian population into account, in particular the needs of women and girls.


HQ SACT’s Two-Pronged Approach:

  1. Implementing UNSCR 1325
    • UNSCR 1325 calls attention to the disproportionate impact that armed conflict has on women and children and recommends specific measures to remedy this.
  2. Integrating Gender Perspective
    • Gender refers to the social attributes and opportunities associated with being male and female. It goes beyond the sex of the person to include how relationships are socially constructed. Gender is heavily influenced by one’s culture.
    • Gender Perspective is integrated when issues are examined from the point of view of both men and women to identify differences in needs and priorities, as well as in abilities and potential.

HQ SACT Gender Perspective Recommendations: Our Roadmap

  1. Inclusion in curriculum at NATO Education and Training Facilities, COE’s and NATO and Partner Countries National Military Education and Training Institutions and Partner Training Centre
  2. Gender Awareness ADL module as standard pre-deployment training
  3. ADL course for personnel working in the field of Gender to support operations
  4. Inclusion in curriculum for civilian pre-deployment training in Vyskov, Czech Republic
  5. Completed accreditation process for existing training courses in the field of gender.
  6. A SACT-approved “Roadmap on Implementing UNSCR 1325 and Integrating Gender Perspective”
  7. Gender Advisor post within the revised PE 2012 structure
  8. Integration of gender perspective in HQ SACT work on the Comprehensive Approach.
  9. Electronic repository for gender-related issues , specifically AARs and Best Practices from ops
  10. Evaluation of establishing a Gender Awareness Centre of Excellence (CoE).
  11. Unclassified website on gender-related activities fully accessible to all
  12. Increased awareness of UNSCR 1325 and gender-related issues throughout ACT
  13. Increased gender perspective (specifically women's representation) within NATO and in decision making bodies at all levels of the planning process.


gender advisor wordcloud

The HQ SACT supports NATO Nations and Partners in their efforts to deliver an education and training. Based on the Training Needs Analysis, HQ SACT has developed, with the full support of the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations (NCGM) as a Department Head, a package of training materials known as Gender Education and Training Package for Nations.

1. What the Gender Education and Training Package for Nations is?
The Gender Education and Training Package for Nations is offered as guidance to nations and partners. It is a training tool composed of the series of Power Point presentations and associated Word files called “Lessons Plans.” The Power Point presentation constitutes a major tool with detailed guidelines for instructors on how to proceed with the lesson. It is important to remember that these are only guidelines on how the material can be presented, but when used, it should be tailored to the specific training audience. The Gender Education and Training Package for Nations offers best practice examples and guidance from different nations on the institutionalization of gender perspective.

2. What is the aim of creating the Gender Education and Training Package for Nations?
The aim is to support the increased awareness on gender perspective in military operations and to assist NATO Allies and Partners to build their gender capacity and capabilities.

3. What is the objective of the Gender Education and Training Package for Nations?
The objective is to facilitate an integration of a gender perspective within the three core tasks of the alliance: collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security. Gender perspective is to be integrated in all three core tasks at the strategic, operational and tactical levels.

4. How the Gender Education and Training Package for Nations is structured?
The Gender Education and Training Package for Nations has three modules:
1. Module 1 Strategic-Operational Level : to strengthen the integration of gender perspective at the national level for the staff in national military headquarters
2. Module 2 Tactical Level : to strengthen integration of gender perspective at national level for the personnel at the tactical level
3. Module 3 Pre-Deployment : for the national armed forces personnel deploying to operations and missions
Every module consists of three lessons. At the strategic-operational and tactical levels the lessons have been broadly divided into the categories per individual training audience and are considered to be ‘stand alone’. The pre-deployment module builds upon knowledge from one lesson to the next and is to be treated as a single module with three dependent lessons.

5. Which topics are covered?
- National and international legal framework relevant for integration of gender perspective into military operations (e.g. UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and Women, Peace and Security Agenda)
- Key terminology related to integration of gender perspective (e.g. sex, gender, integration of gender perspective or gender equality)
- Topics related to Conflict-Related Sexual and Gender Based Violence, and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (e.g. Zero Tolerance Policy)
- Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda within the NATO structure
- Gender perspective in Code of Conduct
- Gender perspective in Standard Operating Procedures
- Gender perspective in the military Education, Training and Exercises
- Gender perspective in planning, execution and assessment of military operations
- Host Nation history, gender roles, gender analysis and Key Leader Engagement
- Operational Impact of gender perspective
- Liaison and Coordination with external actors

6. Who is the audience?
The strategic-operational level refers to a training audience who might conduct their daily work at a Ministry of Defence or Defence Staff-level. The tactical level refers to a training audience who might conduct their daily work at the regiment/brigade level and below.

7. How to access and download the Gender Education and Training Package for Nations?
In order to download the training materials please click here or the button below.


Training Documents

The gender education and training Package for Nations has been presented for the first time during the gender annual discipline conference the 1st of June and again in front of the Military Committee by Brigadier General ROGA, ACOS, JETE, on the 4th of June and is now available as a pilot course. Being an evolving product, we greatly appreciate your feedback at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Instructors' Guide Instructors' Guide Instructors' Guide
Lectures Lesson
Lectures Lesson
Lectures Lesson
stratop lecture1 word tactical lecture1 word stratop lecture1 word
pdt lecture2 word tactical lecture2 word pdt lecture2 word
pdt lecture3 word tactical lecture3 word pdt lecture3 word
Click here to download a ".ZIP" file containing the three lectures and the three lesson plans (approx. 20 MB). Click here to download a ".ZIP" file containing the three lectures and the three lesson plans (approx. 19 MB). Click here to download a ".ZIP" file containing the three lectures and the three lesson plans (approx. 27 MB).

Training Material Feedback form
Please use this form to submit your comments


Soldiers Card

soldier card

NCGM Guidance Note Gender Military Exercises

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whose security

Whose Security? Practical Examples of Gender Perspectives in Military Operations

Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations 2015



SOP Medical Company (MEDCOY)


SOP Medical Company (MEDCOY)
Gender Field Advisor Course School Solution


SOP Medical Company (MEDCOY)

Toolkit of Activities

Conflict-Related Sexual and
Gender-Based Violence:
Case Studies


TNA E&T Package for Nations
Final Report

TNA E&T Package for Nations

TNA E&T Package for Nations

TNA E&T Package for Nations

The Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations (NCGM), Department Head (DH)


On 22 February 2013, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Gender Education and Training between the Swedish Armed Forces, Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT) and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) was signed by the Swedish Chief of Defence. The MOU serves as a blueprint for co-operation by formalising the designation of the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations (NCGM) as Department Head (DH) for the delivery of all Gender Education and Training.

As the NATO DH for gender education and training, the NCGM, under HQ SACT guidance:

  1. Translates operational requirements into education and training objectives within the subject of gender and related programmes, modules and courses that are delivered by NCGM with the objective to support NATO on both the operational and tactical levels;
  2. Establishes training standards to which the NATO gender programme courses adhere;
  3. Collaborates with both HQ SACT and SHAPE to ensure courses and curricula conform to NATO requirements;
  4. Recommends Gender E&T Programme changes to HQ SACT and SHAPE;
  5. Collaborates with HQ SACT to coordinate an annual Gender Discipline/Education and Training Conference to discuss NATO Gender E&T programme changes;
  6. Collaborates with other NATO Education and Training Facilities (NETFs) on a case-by-case as coordinated with HQ SACT.

201506gender seminarThe NCGM has several more tasks (other than courses and education):

  1. NCGM as the Gender DH and recognized expert for gender in operations supports HQ SACT and SHAPE, upon request, with analysis of gender related Lessons Identified by Gender Advisors (GENADs) and Gender Field Advisors (GFAs) deployed to NATO-led operations;
  2. NCGM, as the Gender DH, supports other NATO-led tasks related to gender in military operations on a case by case basis upon request from HQ SACT or SHAPE;
  3. NCGM, as the Gender DH, supports individual and collective NATO-led training with Subject Matter Experts and/or other gender-specific advice at exercises and pre-deployment training.