IDRC Inclusive Economies Gender Speaker Series: Applying a Gender Lens to Preventing Violent Extremism


Not Just a Case of ‘Dealing with the Bad Guys’: Applying a Gender Lens to Preventing Violent Extremism

with Dr. Henri Myrttinen, Head of Gender and Peacebuilding, International Alert

Date:   February 17, 2017
Time:   1:30 – 2:30pm
Venue: IDRC’s Pearson Boardroom, 8th floor, 150 Kent Street, Ottawa
The event is free, but seating is limited. Kindly RSVP.

Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism has quickly risen to the top of the global policy agenda. The passing of UN Security Council Resolution 2242 in 2015, which highlighted the pivotal link between gender equality and international peace and security, has heightened international interest in using a gender lens in this area of work.

Taking a gender approach is useful, but only to the degree in which the analysis of gender roles and dynamics is nuanced. Based on International Alert’s work in the Middle East and North Africa, Nigeria, and Afghanistan, the talk will highlight some of the complexities of these gender dynamics, and address some of the potential pitfalls and emerging best practices of applying a critical gender lens to preventing and countering violent extremism.

Part of IDRC’s Inclusive Economies Gender Speaker Series, this event is co-hosted with the Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada. The event will be held in English but questions are welcome in both English and French. The event is free, but seating is limited. Kindly RSVP.

Dr. Henri Myrttinen is Head of Gender and Peacebuilding at International Alert. He has over 15 years of experience working on gender, conflict and peacebuilding, with a particular focus on masculinities. Henri has worked extensively in different conflict-affected contexts and has also published numerous papers and chapters on various aspects of gender and conflict. He holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, with a thesis on masculinities and violence in Timor-Leste.  

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What’s in a NAP? A short analysis of selected Women, Peace & Security National Action Plans

Our newest publication is a short analysis of a selection of Women, Peace and Security National Action Plans (NAPs). The NAPs chosen are from donor countries that have current plans: Australia, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US), in addition to Canada’s expired NAP.

This analysis considers different elements of the NAPs: their goals and objectives, initiatives and actions, focus countries, and monitoring and evaluation frameworks. Additionally, representatives of civil society in several of the countries were contacted for their perspective on the development of their countries’ NAPs.

The authors of this report are Monique Cuillerier, Diana Sarosi and Kristine St-Pierre.

Download the publication.

Response of the Women, Peace and Security Network-Canada (WPSN-C) to the Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development: An Opportunity for Global Leadership: Canada and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda


Beth Woroniuk (WPSN-C), Diana Sarosi (then Nobel Women’s Initiative) and Jess Tomlin (The MATCH International Women’s Fund) appearing before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development during the Study on Women, Peace and Security (April 12, 2016)

pdf  of this document available

On October 6, 2016, after months of meetings, hearing expert testimony, and analyzing a variety of documents, The House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (the Committee) released its report: An Opportunity for Global Leadership: Canada and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

Comprehensive and aspirational, the report outlines the transformative potential of the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda. Further, it does not shy away from acknowledging the “crippling gaps” that exist in the current global and Canadian implementation of this agenda. Clearly, the Committee listened to the recommendations presented by the expert witnesses and the evidence they presented.

Specifically, the Committee highlighted that the WPS agenda is not a niche area of policy, or a topic of interest to a few special interest groups. Rather, the report makes clear that the WPS agenda touches all areas of peace and security programming and policy should thus be considered a core foreign policy priority. Continue reading

Open letter to Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

The following letter was sent to Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau in November.

Open letter to Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie urging increased and meaningful funding for women’s organizations

(pdf version available)

November 17, 2016

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, P.C.

Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

Dear Minister Bibeau,

We are writing to urge you make funding for women’s organizations a significant and meaningful priority within Canada’s international assistance envelope.

We applaud the Government of Canada’s commitment to putting the rights of women and girls at the heart of Canadian development assistance. Gender inequality touches all of us. For too many women and girls around the globe, violence, discrimination and exclusion are daily realities. The impact is not only felt by individual women and girls, but also by whole societies that lag behind in development and are all too often mired in conflict.

The clear commitment of Prime Minister Trudeau and the Government of Canada to feminist principles offers a crucial opportunity to concretely address these challenges. We know that investments in gender equality and the rights of women and girls are catalytic investments. These investments support development, peace, and the achievement of more just societies.

Continue reading

Discussion on forced marriage with activists

20161117_190702.jpgDr. Annie Bunting, director of the Conjugal Slavery in War (CSiW) Project was in Ottawa on November 17, 2016 along with five activists researchers from five countries in Africa. They are Amelia Cooper of ADWANGA in Liberia, Zawadi Mambo of SOFEPADI in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Godelieve Mukasarasi of SEVOTA in Rwanda, and Rosaline M’Carthy of Women’s Forum in Sierra Leone.

The discussion highlighted a number of key recommendations for donor countries such as Canada. Highest on the list of recommendation is the need for funding of local women’s organisations directly. The speakers described numerous instances of duplication of the work of local organisations by large UN agencies, who are the main recipients of the funds by Western government, including the Canadian government. Some also stated instances of UN agencies asking for and using their information and data for their own reports. While the speakers believe there is value in funding UN agencies, they believe local organisations have a clear advantage when it comes to working directly in the communities, including remote and hard-to-reach communities. Longer-term funding was also mentioned as imperative in building the capacity of local organisations, including local human rights defenders and activists researchers, and ensuring that they can become more functioning in the long term. Continue reading