To increase efforts to incorporate gender perspectives into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operations, the CAF is hosting its first Five Eyes Plus Gender Conference in Ottawa this week.
Running from May 16 to May 18, the conference will allow the CAF to examine, discuss and collaborate with partner nations on how to better apply and integrate gender perspectives at the operational level.
Because the CAF recognizes that conflict, natural disasters, and humanitarian crises affect men, women, boys and girls differently. The integration of Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) into the planning and execution of CAF operations is a means of improving operational effectiveness by further enhancing CAF understanding of operating environments, and subsequently using deeper understanding in order to adjust the planning and conduct of operations.
“To ensure that the needs of all are taken into account when our members deployed on operations around the world, the Canadian Armed Forces is actively working to integrate gender perspectives into operational planning. Integrating gender perspectives into operations is about more than just gender itself: it’s also about education, and showing respect for religions, cultures, and ethnicities,” stated Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.
Five Eyes is an intelligence-sharing alliance between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The current Five Eyes Plus Gender Conference also includes representation from Finland, Germany the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, NATO and the UN. Together, these representatives will share best practices and lessons observed on the integration of gender perspectives at the operational level.
The conference builds on efforts the CAF is making to incorporate gender perspectives. Other efforts include the appointment of a Department of National Defence/CAF Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) Champion, a CAF GBA+ Director, and three gender advisors.
Gender advisors serve as a resource to the commander who is responsible for the overall integration of gender perspectives in planning, execution, and evaluation. The three gender advisors are currently working with the Strategic Joint Staff, Canadian Joint Operations Command, and Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.
“Men, women, and children experience the world differently. I urge all those planning military operations to identify these differences so that our operations and activities better account for these unique security needs. This Gender Based Analysis Plus approach will help make the Canadian Armed Forces more effective in those operations,” said MGen. Tammy Harris, Canadian Armed Forces Gender Based Analysis Plus Champion.
The importance of including gender perspectives stems from United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 that focuses on women in situations of armed conflict. The resolution acknowledges that conflict impacts men, women, girls and boys in different ways.
The CAF has incorporated GBA+ into their planning and execution to gain a deeper understanding. GBA+ helps the CAF consider and account for factors such as age, education, language, culture, and gender into its operational planning and analysis.
It is the hope that by better understanding the needs and capacities of different groups, the CAF can take steps to better contribute to maintaining long-term peace and stability in the regions they operate in.
“The first Five Eyes Plus Gender Conference provides an excellent opportunity to see the work partner nations are doing to integrate gender perspectives into their operations and to share best practices. I am encouraged to see the work being done on this initiative by all participating countries and I am heartened to know that all conference participants understand the importance of a Gender-Based Analysis Plus in the planning and conduct operations and that it is essential to continue using it in the conduct of future Canadian Armed Forces operations,” said Sheila Ouellet, Canadian Armed Forces Gender Based Analysis Plus Director.