Gender, Women and Security Sector Reform

Gender has been marginalized in security sector reform (SSR). Policy has changed in recent years, but the gap between policy and practice remains significant. This article examines gender and SSR, critiques some of the current debate on gender in SSR, outlines the challenges of adopting a gender-sensitive SSR approach and discusses the issue of gender-based violence and justice reform. The article concludes that there is a need to refocus gender in SSR discourse. Gender should be treated within the broader SSR context to avoid the separation of gender from other matters in SSR. Gender is not only about women and essentialist assumptions are not useful to the discourse. There is also a critical need to expand the focus on representation to gender mainstreaming and context sensitivity, and to avoid template models for SSR.

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