Enhancing NATO Integration of Gender Perspective

The Allied Command Transformation’s Gender Advisor (ACT GENAD) Office and the NATO Innovation Hub, with support from the project academic partner team at Virginia Wesleyan University, are collaborating on the AzuritOwl project, which is an initiative to explore and innovate in the field of gender perspective in military operations and activities, aiming to enhance and adapt NATO’s approach and processes.

The integration of gender perspective is important when building strong and effective armed forces, requiring the process to be done in the most effective way possible.

This is why NATO’s Innovation Hub and the HQ SACT GENAD Office are launching a forum to facilitate asynchronous online brainstorming, for participants to discuss pressing issues and solutions, with the intent of gathering data.

Through this forum, participants will exchange knowledge and ideas to the topics presented.

Experts from different fields, civilians and military personnel will be able to participate in the discussion, creating a diversity of thoughts and ideas.

The thematic area of expertise contributing to this initiative will be cross-functional and cross-domain, including but not limited to Women, Peace and Security (WPS), Human Security, CIMIC-CMI, Intelligence, Information, Diversity and Inclusion, Technologies, Education and Training, and much more.

As a capacity, gender perspective allows us to detect gender-based and sex-based differences between women, men, girls and boys in a particular situation. Applied to any activity, it helps to improve situation awareness and understanding of the human environment by identifying “if, when, how and why”:

-A particular situation or action can affect these population groups differently, and

-These population groups have different impacts and/or influence on a given situation.

Gender analysis is not a standalone process and needs to be incorporated in every phase, from the start of planning, to when we monitor an area of interest (potential future area of operations or missions) and then is continuously assessed with the evolution of the situation (prior and during the engagement).

NATO aims to ensure the collective defense of its members through its three core tasks; Deterrence and Defense, Crisis Prevention and Management, and Cooperative Security. All of which are enhanced with the systematic integration of gender perspective, increasing the Alliance effectiveness through all components of NATO’s fighting power (moral, conceptual and physical), and thus, contributing to lasting peace, stability and security.

The AzuritOwl project has created an exchange mechanism enabling NATO’s Gender Advisory community to further assess, refine and increase knowledge about gender perspective in military operations and activities, while exploring different approaches and innovative methods to integrate gender perspective and conduct gender analysis.

The aim is to deliver a modern and technology assisted tool to support NATO’s gender analysis process in order to be comprehensive, “deeper” and “faster”, while also mitigating biases present in human performance.

During the military decision-making or planning process, this is equally important when personnel are required to work with restrictions such as limited time, workforce, and resources.

As part of the final step to the ‘understanding phase’ of this project, the forum results will be published in preparation for the online workshop that contributors are invited to attend once the forum is concluded, by the end of July.

The data and information gathered through interviews, email exchanges and in the forum will contribute to the future of how NATO integrates gender perspective and operationalises the WPS agenda. This will be made available for the participants after further development of the project.

The conception of this initiative is in the spirit of the 2023 theme of  International Women’s Day “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.

Furthermore, this initiative contributes to the digital transformation to modernize, inform and create a more agile Alliance.

Project AzuritOwl