SEESAC Presents Western Balkan Gender in Security Sector Reform Milestones at Female Leaders in Security and Defence Forum

Results achieved by SEESAC and its partners in the field of gender in security sector reform were presented at the Female Leaders in Security and Defence Forum organised under the aegis of the South-Eastern Europe Defence Ministerial (SEDM) Regional Initiative in Bucharest on 23-24 November.

The opening of the Forum underlined the importance of regional cooperation in South East Europe focusing on gender equality. This was brought to the participants’ attention by Ms. Simona Cojocaru, State Secretary for Defence Policy, Planning, and International Relations, and Mr. Laurențiu Leoreanu, Chairman of the Committee for Defence, Public Order, and National Safety of the Parliament of Romania.

To address the contemporary security challenges and the processes of shaping and maintaining peace, women have a strong role to play, the Forum highlighted. Their potential, capabilities, and expertise should contribute to the military, while the barriers to their active participation in these processes should be removed.

During the Forum, SEESAC gave a brief overview of the results achieved by the four ministries of defence from the Western Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, and the Republic of Serbia) in advancing gender equality in the military.

The most recent activities focused on mainstreaming gender in military education and training were presented, as well as the seminal research related to small arms and light weapons control and gender-based violence. For achieving desired policy impacts, the importance of gender-disaggregated data and appropriate gender analysis were emphasised.

The Forum gathered representatives of the South-Eastern Europe Defence Ministerial (SEDM) Regional Initiative member states, as well as international and regional organisations (SEESAC, OSCE, NATO) to foster dialogue and regional cooperation focusing on the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and exchange experience related to promoting gender equality in the security sector.