The Agency for Legislative Initiatives publishes the results of the study “Gender Analysis of Obstacles Faced by Target Groups of Security Sector Reform in Ukraine: Review of Committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in the Light of Legislative Architecture in the Process of Reforming the Security and Defense Sector.”
What is the research about?
The study was prepared within the framework of the joint project of the Agency and the Parliamentary Center (Canada) – “Parliamentary Accountability of the Security Sector in Ukraine” (PASS Ukraine), which is implemented with the support of the Ministry of International Affairs of Canada (Global Affairs Canada) and the Peacebuilding and Stabilization Program (PSOPs) in partnership with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
The project pays special attention to inclusive practices and gender equality in reforming the security and defense sector.
The purpose of the analysis was to identify the current needs and gaps in implementing gender equality and security sector reform as holistic concepts in the context of developing, implementing, and enforcing security and defense legislation.
The research was based on the results of interviews and surveys that were conducted with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine committees targeted for the project – on issues of national security, defense, and intelligence, issues of law enforcement, issues of Ukraine’s integration into the European Union, as well as civil society organizations (CSOs ), who deal with issues of ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women and girls and men and boys in the security and defense sector of Ukraine.
The results of this study are based on:
1) assessment and self-assessment of the legislative, supervisory and organizational capacity of the committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, including issues of gender equality and;
2) primary research of data collected (from March to August 2021) from the committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and civil society organizations (CSOs) regarding gender equality in the process of reforming the security and defense sector.
It is important to emphasize that the study was conducted in 2021, therefore, the results and conclusions do not take into account new challenges and obstacles in the security and defense sector caused by the beginning of a full-scale offensive of the russian federation on the territory of Ukraine.
Researched problems and research results
One of the key aspects of this gender analysis was to determine the extent to which the legislative and oversight functions of the VRU committees encompass the analysis of gender equality in the security and defense sector reform process – whether this analysis takes place regularly or in the context of directly related legislation and oversight powers.
What the study showed:
Government programs, concepts, procedures, and guidelines issued in recent times outline the duty of public bodies to carry out gender analysis and promote gender equality, among other things, in the context of security and defense sector reform.
However, the results of the study showed a clear gap in the practical efforts of the committees to take gender into account and promote gender equality. According to the members of the researched committees, the issue of gender is sufficiently taken into account, and in most cases, it is unnecessary. One of the main problems of this gap is currently lack of human resources in the committees to perform legislative and supervisory functions.
Ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women and men in the security and defense sector under NATO standards is a requirement of Euro-Atlantic integration and a declared priority of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine from 2020.
What the study showed:
Some efforts have been made to integrate gender equality into the context of security and defense sector reform, at least at the policy development level and rhetoric. In particular, these efforts were aimed at:
- implementation of European standards of equality between women and men;
- enabling conditions to ensure equal rights and opportunities for women and men in all spheres of society;
- implementation of priorities under the UN Security Council Resolution “Women, peace, security”;
- strengthening of institutional and coordination mechanisms of the national body on gender policy issues;
Some specific results:
- in 2020, “Methodical recommendations on the implementation of gender approaches in the personnel training system for the security and defense sector of Ukraine” were published;
- The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine also approved the Concept of communication in the field of gender equality until 2025;
- gender equality policy priorities are included in the Government’s action plan;
- The president of Ukraine pledged to fight against gender and domestic violence.
BUT although these undoubtedly crucial steps have been taken, the implementation of the policy documents is still ongoing, and the planned results have not been fully achieved.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that deal with issues of ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women and men in the security and defense sector, fight against gender-based violence, promote gender equality and human rights, contribute to security sector reform, as well as resolve conflicts, development peace, and stability, see themselves as a critical force behind security and defense reform.
What the study showed:
- Non-governmental organizations claim that their participation in the development and implementation of legislative documents, as well as in monitoring their compliance, contributes to increasing the awareness and openness of the executive and legislative branches of government to holistic concepts of gender equality and security and defense sector reform.
- Non-governmental organizations have relevant expertise and are ready to support security and defense reform.
- Non-governmental organizations try to influence legislative initiatives but report obstacles when interacting with VRU committees.
Key research findings and recommendations
- It is crucial that the employees of the committees and expert departments of the Apparatus of the VRU have a sufficient level of knowledge to conduct gender (and security) analysis regularly.
- It is necessary to ensure the appointment and/or identification of gender advisors with special knowledge on issues of gender equality and security and defense sector reform in relevant security ministries.
- It is important to involve non-governmental organizations in conducting gender impact analysis on legislative initiatives to promote gender equality and oversee its implementation in the security and defense sector.