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The Women Fighting Boko Haram

Alexis Okeowo discusses the efforts of the Civilian Joint Task Force (C.J.T.F.), a vigilante group taking active measures to combat Boko Haram. C.J.T.F., which has approximately ten thousand fighters, originated in order to expose members of Boko Haram while preventing innocent people from being punished by the Nigerian military as part of its response to Boko Haram attacks. Although consisting primarily of men, women also play an essential role in the Task Force by confronting and searching women suspected of being connected to Boko Haram. In addition to discussing the C.J.T.F. and women’s involvement in it, the author also addresses the underlying issues contributing to vigilantism in the country. Read full article.

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The Islamic State West Africa continues to utilize women as suicide bombers

Caleb Weiss discusses extremist group Boko Haram’s, which now calls itself the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWA), increased utilization of women to conduct suicide bombings. Providing a timeline of 34 suicide bombing attacks using women over a 16-month period (Jun 2014 – Sep 2015), he argues that the regularly-employed tactic indicates that the jihadist group is running camps to indoctrinate and train its female recruits. Weiss points to the significance and effectiveness of this tactic by noting the regional government’s response of banning women from wearing burkas, which the ISWA use to mask its suicide bombers. Read full article.

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December Newsletter-Gender and Security Sector Reform: What’s Going On Out There?
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Security sector reform (SSR) is a difficult business. Systems, institutions, issues, actors, and politics are in ample supply. Add a dose of violent conflict and it becomes a cluster. (We’re not talking about a UN thematic cluster either.) Include “gender” in the mix and things not only become more complicated, but contentious as well. Unspoken power dynamics are examined, center stage. “Security” is redefined. Resistance crops up. Paradigms shift.

This month GC360 recommends only one report: Gender and Security Sector Reform Examples from the Ground since reading it is like completing Gender and SSR 101. It presents examples from 20+ countries and two regions covering nine themes. And all in 99 pages! This is the ultimate practitioner’s Gender and SSR compendium.

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DoD Finally Gets the Point of Women, Peace, and Security

This article discusses the importance of incorporating UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) into military operations highlighting the efforts of the Australian Defense Force and the U.S. Department of Defense to do just that during the bi-lateral military exercise Talisman Sabre 2015 (TS 15). The author highlights the significance of including WPS in military exercises noting that, “[t]raining exercises – or war games – are critical to ensuring military readiness; they represent a principal way to integrate and, eventually, operationalize new ideas” like WPS. In addition to discussing the importance of integrating WPS, this article also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of TS 15 in terms of operationalizing WPS as well as the challenges that lie ahead, particularly for DoD. Read full article.

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Defense Seeks to Double Efforts to End Global Conflict

This article discusses the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) nascent efforts to rethink security by considering the role of local women in areas experiencing conflict. While DoD is becoming more familiar with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), this doesn’t guarantee implementation as the author points out. Concrete examples of some of Defense’s attempts to integrate WPS into military operations are provided as well as a discussion concerning the challenges in doing so. Read full article.

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