By bringing Dr. Carol Cohn (University of Massachusetts), Ms Åsa Ekvall (University of Antwerp), Ms Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini (ICAN) and Ms Mavic Cabrera-Balleza (GNWP) to the table, the Gender Advisors created a platform for in-depth discussion. Topics covered included the disruption of gendered power relations, the importance of grass roots women's activism and contributions to national and international security. Naraghi-Anderlini, who actively participated in drafting of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 talked about how the integration of gender perspective influences the operational environment. Related to countering violent extremism, she explained how extremists use "gender analysis better than we do" and in order to thwart such action, the empowerment of women was essential.
The conference united over 40 participants and provided a way forward of possible areas to address when implementing UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions in the NATO Command and Force structures. From the perspective of NATO-led operations, the discussions helped to understand the importance of bottom-up solutions and creating local ownership to frame a more safe and secure environment.
SACEUR/ACO Gender Advisor Isaksson stated, "this was an unprecedented conference successful in bringing together actors who normally do not meet even though we work towards the same objective of gender equality and women's full participation in all areas and activities related to peace and security".
Story by Aram Hong, SHAPE Assistant Gender Advisor