Updated: 20-Oct-2008 Committee on Women in NATO Forces


Meeting Records

NATO Nations National Briefings and Reports
Czech Republic
United Kingdom
United States
Gender & Security Sector Reform Toolkit
ICE: not yet translatedr

The CONFERENCE OF THE COMMITTEE ON WOMEN IN THE NATO FORCES was held at NATO Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium, Monday 02 Jun 08 to Friday 06 Jun 08

The Committee on Women in the NATO Forces (CWINF) noted the introductory remarks given by the CWINF’s Chairperson, Lt.Colonel A. Bergmans (BELAR), who also presented the objectives of the conference:

- to exchange best practices on providing gender expertise;

- to exchange best practices on improvement gender balance;

- to compile a selected list of recommendations on the improvement of the gender balance in the Armed Forces particularly during operations, based on national inputs which had been submitted prior the conference;

The CWINF’s Chairperson, Lt.Colonel A. Bergmans gave an updating briefing on the status of work regarding the implementation of UNSCR 1325 within NATO.

Welcome Address

NATO`s Secretary General, Mr. J. Hoop de Scheffer gave the Welcome Address by:

- describing the process of NATO transformation and emphasising needs of enabling right policies, capabilities and structures to meet the security challenges;  

- admitting an importance of promoting of gender balance throughout the Alliance and his commitment on implementation of the UNSCR 1325 within NATO;

- presenting major issues facing the Alliance related to NATO and Euro-Atlantic security and stability:

- further enlargement of the Alliance;
- NATO-led operations;
- deepening partnership;
- new challenges for NATO Alliance related to the current age of globalisation;


The CWINF noted guest presentations preceding work in subcommittees, by:

a.         Mrs. C. Wale-Grunditz, Seconded National Expert, currently serving at the EU Council General Secretariat/DGE VIII Defence Issues; with responsibility mainly for issues related to the EU military support to AMIS and the transition to UNAMID (Sudan/Darfur), Human Rights/Gender/Children Affected by Armed Conflict in conjunction with military ESDP operations, and exercise planning support. She presented the process of gender perspective implementation in the context of the ESDP based on UNSCR 1325 to ensure that all categories of personnel involved in ESDP operations maintain the highest standards of behaviour; she described also measures which have been made to mainstream gender issue particularly in ESDP missions and emphasising the importance of implementation of gender mainstreaming and UNSCR 1325 into national policies;

b.         Lieutenant General K.-H. Viereck, (DEUAF) EU Operation Commanderfor the EUFOR mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2006 presented his experience related to incorporation of gender perspective during that mission; emphasising the importance of an appropriate pre-deployment as well as ‘’in theatre’’ training concerning the gender awareness for every personnel who is to be deployed and finally presenting advantages resulting from taking into consideration gender issue in adequate preparation of the mission;

c.         Mrs. C. Isaksson, Gender Expert and Senior Gender Advisor within the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters, shared lessons learnt on implementation of a gender perspective into daily work/ service, as well as into military operations. She emphasised the importance of building an appropriate cooperation and coordination with other organisations on gender mainstreaming, starting from national level.

d.         Squadron Leader S. O’Donnel (GBRAF) presented her own experience on pre-deployment training and deployment to Afghanistan.

e.         Lieutenant Colonel C. Vermuë (NLDAR) Head of the NLD Delegation, presented a gender policy from the Netherlands Ministry of Defence. Its objectives, the results of the previous three years in such areas like: training, crisis-response operations, balance and gender mainstreaming and finally presented lessons learnt from previous years;

f.          Lieutenant Colonel M. Døhl (NORAR), presented the National Action Plan on implementation of UNSCR 1325 issued in 2006.  She explaed the structure of that plan and measures that have been undertaken to integrate the gender perspective into:
(1)       training and education;
(2)       operational planning;
(3)       training for operations;
(4)       evaluation and the reporting process;

g.         Mrs. E. Prevot, a Researcher at the Research Centre of the French Air Force (CReA) (Military History and Sociology Laboratory, and the Georges Friedmann CNRS Laboratory/ Paris 1 University is also a lecturer at the Air Force Academies, Salon de Provence, (since March 2006) on the introduction to general sociology and military sociology, sociology of organisations, applied sociology: command and professional relations. She presented the experience on the integration of military women in PKO and highlighting reasons of current disturbances and obstacles in the feminization process in the Army, based on European examples.(LES OPÉRATIONS DE MAINTIEN DE LA PAIX : UNE VOIE POUR INTÉGRER LES FEMMES MILITAIRES? PDF/149kb)

h.         Commander D. King (CANNA), Strategic Recruiting Advisor to the Director General Recruiting and Military Careers in Ottawa, presented a national, military strategy concerning recruitment based on national law and also addressed to women by promoting unlimited opportunity and quality of life;

i.          Mrs. L. Simm, Senior Research Fellow with the Advanced Research and Assessment Group and Director of the Ideology, Theology and Philosophy Research Cluster, presented a briefing ‘’Gender and cultural awareness in GBR pre-deployment training – the example of Afghanistan’’. She explained that a key objective was to foster a better understanding of what culture is, how it affectes individual and collective behaviour, and how it should be accommodated in activities affecting Defence, Security and Development based on the example of Afhganistan and its complex culture.

j.          Brigadier General S. Lawrence(USAAR), Head of the USA Delegation,Commanding General, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command/ 9th Signal Command (Army) and ARSTRAT Deputy for NETOPS, presented relevant national military rules and regulations which have an influence on female service and gender integration within the armed forces. She explained also that policies alone can not ensure or eliminate obstacles to gender integration, but that policies are fundamental to build a formal equality and to set conditions to achieve equality and change perceptions of women serving in the American Armed Forces;


The CWINF Chairperson, highlighted the goals of this year’s work in the three subcommittees and explained that the final result of each sub-committees’ work should be a selected list of recommendations based on the compiled national inputs, which have been submitted by NATO nations prior the conference concerning 3 domains of interest:

  1. Quality of Life including Operational Planning and Operations;
  2. Training & Development including Education
  3. Recruitment and Employment

She mentioned that each subcommittee was to be represented by the same National Delegates as it was in the previous year:

  1. Quality of Life including Operational Planning and Operations, chaired by the Deputy Chairperson Lieutenant G. Paris (ITANA), represented by the National Delegates of Belgium, Canada, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Poland and Romania;

  2. Training & Development including Education, chaired by the Deputy Chairperson Lt Col P. Dimitriou (HELAF), represented by the National Delegates of Denmark, Hungary, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom;

  3. Recruitment and Employment chaired by the Deputy Chairperson Lt. Col. S.Carrey (CANAF) and represented by the National Delegates of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Portugal, United States.

Accompanying observers took part in other subcommittees’ work, to ensure a broader chance of sharing national experience on the discussed topics.


The CWINF noted the briefings by the Sub-Committee leaders, who presented the outcomes of the working sessions and the revisions which have been made by the National Delegates when they presented the subcommittees outcomes; and the statement by the Chairperson, explaining that these outcomes would be forwarded to the National Delegates for their final verification in order to ensure that an agreed to the recommendations on the best practices were complete and later on could be published on the CWINF website.


The CWINF noted the Farewell Address given by the Deputy Director of the IMS, Major General J. Bornemann (DEU AR), Assistant Director of the Plans & Policy Division, presenting the way ahead on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 within NATO, explaining that NMAs’ intention was to develop guidelines addressed to the NATO Command Structure on the integration of the gender perspective into operations, training and education, which would also be passed to the nations to make them aware what will be expected in the mentioned areas from their side.


The next meeting was announced to take place from 01 Jun 09 to 05 June 09 in NATO HQ in Brussels, Belgium, with Chairperson Lt Col Bergmans.

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