Africa Program Director Dr. Monde Muyangwa recently discussed gender mainstreaming in African armed forces at a Regional Gender Mainstreaming Seminar hosted by the Namibian Defense Force and co-sponsored by US Africa Command and US Army Africa in Windhoek, Namibia from 23-27 June, 2014.
Representatives from Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Zambia, and the African Union attended the seminar, which brought regional leaders together to share lessons and impart best practices on the role that leadership can play in enhancing gender mainstreaming in the armed forces.
During her presentation, Dr. Muyangwa addressed the status of gender mainstreaming in African armed forces and also highlighted key challenges to more effective gender mainstreaming in African militaries, focusing on the lack of comprehensive strategic frameworks and policies, the lack of political will, as well as entrenched societal views in which women are viewed primarily as consumers rather than providers of security. Muyangwa also shared lessons learned and best practices and offered several recommendations for enhancing gender mainstreaming in African militaries. She also highlighted international, regional, and national-level training resources that are available to African armed forces as they seek to improve their leadership, strategic planning, staff and organizational capacities aimed at more effectively integrating women into the militaries. Dr. Muyangwa emphasized the international nature of the issue, encouraging African countries to not only collaborate with each other, but also with international partners to develop more effective solutions to their challenges.