Thinking about gender in military planning and operations

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) sends troops on missions to countries where people have different views and customs. They may look at gender—being male or female—in a different way than in Canada. These countries face crises that affect men, women, boys and girls in different ways. Crises could include war, violence, hurricanes, and earthquakes, among others.

The CAF uses a tool called Gender-based analysis Plus (GBA+) to consider gender in all stages of operations. These include planning, running operations and evaluating them afterwards.

The CAF uses this tool to judge how policies, programs, services, and practices might affect diverse groups of women and men. The "plus" in the name shows that it looks at other identity factors besides gender. These include age, schooling, language, geography, culture and income.

By considering GBA+ and gender, the CAF:

  • Better understands how certain people might be at risk in countries where it has missions; and
  • Is better able to reach its mission goals.

Gender Advisors

The CAF has gender advisors working for the following leaders:

  1. Chief of the Defence Staff;
  2. Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command; and
  3. Commander Canadian Special Operations Command.

They advise these key leaders about gender and GBA+. This ensures that the CAF thinks about these aspects when planning, running, and assessing operations. The advisors also work with other CAF units to provide GBA+ training for CAF members. They also advise on using GBA+ when creating personnel policies and programs, and on fitting it into CAF procedures, doctrine and day-to-day life.

Supporting Documents

The practice of thinking about gender and GBA+ is based on earlier measures. These include the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and the seven Resolutions that followed. The Resolution on Women, Peace and Security was a landmark measure. It was the first instrument to deal solely with women in situations of armed conflict. It acknowledged that these conflicts have a different impact on men, women, boys and girls.

The CAF also issued a Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) Directive for Integrating UNSCR 1325 and Related Resolutions into CAF Planning and Operations  in January 2016. It shows what the CAF is doing to further integrate gender perspectives.  It also ensures that GBA+ is always considered as an essential part of all CAF activities.

The CAF has considered gender in its work for years. However, this is the first time this practice has been applied under a single Directive.

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