Global Resources

Gender Self-Assessment Guide for the Police, Armed Forces and Justice Sector

Author: Megan Bastick
Publisher: Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces
Publication Date: Jan 2011
A gender-responsive security sector institution is one that both meets the distinct and different security and justice needs of men, women, boys and girls; and promotes the full and equal participation of men and women. This self-assessment guide is a tool for assessing the gender responsiveness of a security sector institution, in particular police services, armed forces and justice sector institutions. The guide shows how to conduct an assessment of an institution, create an action plan to move the organisation forward, and monitor and evaluate the plan’s implementation. It also includes case studies from New Zealand, United States and Netherlands.

Conducting an assessment has eight stages. These are:

1. Consider benefits and risks
2. Obtain the proper authorisation
3. Organise the work
4. Tailor the self-assessment process
5. Collect the information
6. Analyse and report on findings
7. Develop a gender action plan
8. Monitor, evaluate and adjust

The tool provides a detailed approach with tips and factors to consider. In the first stage, for example, the tool suggests that whilst conducting a self-assessment offers many benefits to an institution, including providing a basis from which to recognise and reinforce progress already made on gender issues, whilst promoting dialogue on areas where change is still needed, it is worth considering potential negative consequences. For example, conducting a gender assessment, where there are no resources or commitment to follow it up with a programme of improvement, risks raising false expectations.

To carry out the assessment it is recommended that the institution set up an internal working group led by a gender focal point. The working group would use techniques such as interviews, questionnaires, focus groups and document reviews to collect information on 16 dimensions of gender responsiveness. These include capacity and training, access to services and data on gender- related crime. The self-assessment and action planning is likely to take between four to six months, and after the assessment process the organisation will have an assessment report and a gender action plan.