To mark International Women’s Day, we are profiling some of the individual members of our Network and the work that they do. Today: Jennifer Savidge
by Clarissa Leir-Taha, MA Candidate (NPSIA) and intern with The WPS Group
With a background in security and international development, Jennifer Savidge brings a wealth of knowledge to the WPS Network. She is a gender specialist in the fields of international development and security, with experience implementing programming across a range of sectors at the grassroots and institutional level.
Jennifer’s interest in WPS-related issues developed during her time spent completing a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at McGill University and a Master of Applied Communications at Royal Roads University. Joining the naval reserve in high school, she became a member of the Canadian navy and served in a range of roles. Her overseas deployments included serving as part of NATO’s stabilization force in Bosnia and Herzegovina and participating in counter-terrorism operations in the Mediterranean Sea and counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.
In 2016, Jennifer was appointed as a gender advisor with the Canadian Armed Forces, one of the first such advisory roles to exist within the CAF. Through her work as a gender advisor, she was introduced to the WPSN-C and became a member upon her release from the CAF.
From her diverse experiences, Jennifer says she has learned the importance of imparting the human rights aspects of gender when addressing gender-related issues within organizations, and that the approach needs to be context-specific. She notes that a careful balance needs to be struck between focusing on human rights and operational effectiveness in the peace and security fields in particular.
Jennifer is also an author. Published in 2013, her creative non-fiction book Hostile Seas details her experiences aboard a Canadian naval vessel tasked with escorting merchant ships off the coast of Somalia while under the threat of piracy.