NATO Gender Definition


This policy is revised in August 2012. It aims to ensure implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, related resolutions and integration of gender perspective in military organizations and forces in the NATO command structure and NATO force structure of the Alliance and within NATO-led operations.

Security and risks during armed conflicts are perceived differently by men, women, boys and girls. These differences must be analyzed and addressed to enable a safe and secure environment for the entire population. An effective operational response uses Comprehensive Approach (CA) principles to address multi-faceted conflicts and crises, and contribute to sustainable and lasting peace. Realizing that gender dimensions are an important component of such efforts, NATO’s Directive 40-1 seeks to mainstream gender into all phases of NATO activities.

NATO’s definition:

Gender refers to the social attributes associated with being male and female learned through socialization and determines a person’s position and value in a given context. This means also the relationships between women and men and girls and boys, as well as the relations between women and those between men. These attributes, opportunities and relationships are socially constructed and are learned through socialization processes. Notably, gender does not equate to woman.

You find the full text of the Bi-SC Directive 40-1 here.

CCOE and Gender

gender_1The direction of CCOE’s engagement in gender has been the raising of a general gender awareness strategy for the military sector. Based on experiences within this framework and the general political and military debate concerning a Comprehensive Approach for the solution of today’s conflicts. CCOE‘s aim is to contribute to formulating a more comprehensive understanding for the topic of gender in its military relevance. This particularly applies for the integration of the complex of gender in all of its facets regarding content and procedure. Based on the above CCOE intends to implement cross cutting conclusions.
In 2008 CCOE published its first publication on gender: ‘Gender Makes Sense: A Way to Improve Your Mission’ This publication has been re-written ; the new 2nd edition is now available.

The aim of this CCOE publication is:

  • To create a thorough understanding of gender for the operational and tactical level in order to be more successful in military operations;
  • To stimulate the military stakeholders to become more knowledgeable on gender;
  • To provide our civilian partners with awareness regarding the military approach towards gender;
  • To provide CIMIC personnel with a useful tool to improve their day-to-day work.

The 2nd edition of the CCOE Gender Makes Sense is here available.

CCOE and the NORDIC Centre for Gender in Military Operations

gender_2Beginning 2012 the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations (NCGM) was established. The centre aims to increase the efforts to implement UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions. The centre is a hub of knowledge and expertise when it comes to gender perspective in military operations, focusing on training and education and policy developing. It works closely with relevant organizations like UN, NATO, EU, and AU as well as with nations working in the same direction. CCOE has established a close cooperation with the NCGM to share knowledge and experience.


  • UN – Act To Protect: Guidance Note on Attacks Against Schools and HospitalsGuidance Note (UN resolution 1998) on preparing action plans to end and prevent the violations inclusive reporting
  • Global Protection Cluster – Gender Based Violence (GBV)The Gender-Based Violence Area of Responsibility (GBV AoR) is the global level forum for coordinating prevention and response to GBV in humanitarian settings. The group brings together NGOs, UN agencies, academics and others under the shared objectives of ensuring more predictable, accountable and effective approaches to GBV prevention and response. Established in 2008, the GBV AoR is one of four functional components of the Global Protection Cluster, known as “areas of responsibility”. The GBV AoR is co-led at the global level by UNFPA and UNICEF
  • Tip Sheet – Gender-Inclusive Disaster Risk Management – World | ReliefWeb“The Asia and Pacific region is the world’s most disasterprone area. Women-with their extensive knowledge of communities, social roles of managing natural environmental resources, and caring responsibilities-increasingly play a critical role in disaster risk management. Empowering women is the key to strengthening disaster resilience of communities.”