Ministry of Defence of Serbia Completes First Gender Coach Programme

A high-level military official of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the Republic of Serbia successfully completed UNDP SEESAC’s the first Gender Coach Programme (GCP) launched in December 2022  to support senior leaders in strengthening their capacities for integrating the gender perspective into the defence sector. By completing the programme, the MoD of Serbia demonstrates its firm commitment to implement the recommendations of the recently launched Regional Baseline Study on Integrating a Gender Perspective in Military Education and Training.   

The programme was implemented through six one-on-one monthly sessions encompassing a wide array of topics related to gender in the military. It covered the basic concepts of gender equality and gender-based discrimination with examples from the military context. The programme also enabled discussion about the data contained in regional knowledge tools developed by Ministries of Defence in the Western Balkans with support of SEESAC: the 2nd Regional Study on The Position of Women in the Armed Forces in the Western Balkans and the Regional Handbook for Combating Gender-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Abuse as well as the findings of the Regional Youth Perception Survey on how to integrate the gender perspective in recruitment policies. Finally, the programme included information and examples on integrating gender in military education and training.

This tailored coaching programme builds on the results of a similar programme implemented in the Swedish Armed Forces since 2007 and the results and experience with the Gender Coaching Programme delivered by SEESAC in the Western Balkans. In the past three years, five high-level officials completed the basic Gender Coach Programme – one from Bosnia and Herzegovina, three from Montenegro and one from North Macedonia, while one official started with the advanced Gender Coach Programme in Montenegro.

High-ranking officials who successfully finish the programme are equipped to play a pivotal role in advancing gender equality within their ministry and armed forces through capacity development, relationship building, as well as increased knowledge and awareness of gender perspectives in the military.

This programme is organised within the scope of the second phase of SEESAC’s project financed by the Governments of Norway and the Slovak Republic Strengthening of Regional Cooperation on Gender Mainstreaming in Security Sector Reform in the Western Balkans, which provides support for mainstreaming gender in the security sector reform, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.