Mainstreaming gender into all policies & programmes


UN personnel work with significant security challenges, including those which expose them to the risk of violence or other security related threats. These threats may be a result of several factors, including their gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.

The United Nations has been at the forefront of mainstreaming gender into all its policies and programmes. UNDSS has recently increased its efforts in this regard, working with the partners of the Inter-Agency Security Management Network (IASMN) to develop and improve gender sensitivity and responsiveness in all aspects of the UN Security Management System (UNSMS) and our Security Risk Management (SRM) processes. 


Policy & guidelines

The UN Security Management System (UNSMS) Policy on Gender Considerations in Security Management was developed to raise awareness and guide security decision makers in assessing and addressing security related threats, risks and vulnerabilities of all United Nations personnel, especially those most vulnerable. The policy affirms the United Nations’ commitment to ensuring that its security management system is more gender sensitive and that it provides appropriate and effective responses, management and mitigation measures.

The UNSMS Policy on Gender Considerations in Security Management is supported by “Guidelines on Gender-Based Security Incidents”. These Guidelines provide practical advice to security personnel on the preparation and response to gender-based incidents.

Between 2016 and 2017, the Inter-Agency Security Management Network (IASMN) Working Group on Gender Inclusion developed a Manual on Gender Inclusion in Security Risk Management and updated the 2006 Security Guidelines for Women.

UNDSS internal gender strategy

In addition to working to ensure gender-responsive operations, UNDSS is in the process of implementing its internal UNDSS Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women Strategy 2015-2021.

The strategy is led by the ASG, supported by two Gender Advisers (one Professional and one General Service) and a supporting framework consisting of a Coordination Team, Focal Points and a Field Reference Group. The Gender Strategy has three main objectives:

  • an inclusive organizational culture free from bias and discrimination,
  • improved gender parity, and
  • ensuring gender-responsive operations.

Manual on Gender Inclusion in Security Management

Gender equality & training

UNDSS is working to incorporate gender perspectives into all UN Security Management System (UNSMS) training curricula. The UNDSS Training and Development Section is committed to ensuring that its training programmes are gender-sensitive and to this end, observations and suggestions would be most welcome.

“Women’s Security Awareness Training” (WSAT) is a short course delivered by women security professionals, for women, and aims to improve security awareness, understanding and capability. This programme, initiated in 2008 by WFP and UNICEF female security experts, is currently coordinated by UNDSS with UN Women and UNHCR also holding coordinating roles. Requests for WSAT are coordinated between UN Country Teams or Security Management Teams and UNDSS.

Gender-Based Violence against UN Personnel

Like many people around the world, United Nations personnel are at risk of violence based on their gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.

These threats may arise as part of broader discrimination in a specific region, context or location. For example, even where no such laws exist, the gender norms of a specific country may raise threats to women or LGBTI personnel.

UNDSS is working with its Inter-Agency Security Management Network (IASMN) partners and UN-GLOBE to refine policy and training provisions and to develop initiatives aimed at improving the security of colleagues who may be vulnerable to gender-based violence. This includes collaboration with the Critical Incident and Stress Management Unit (CISMU) to ensure appropriate counselling services may be referred. Further, UN Security Management System (UNSMS) policies that have been recently promulgated ensure that gender is a core component of the Security Risk Management process.

HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)

HIV Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is an emergency medical response given to an individual who has been exposed to HIV to prevent a possible HIV infection in the exposed person. HIV PEP services comprise first aid (depending on the nature of exposure), counselling, assessment of risk of exposure to HIV and HIV testing. Depending on the outcome of the exposure assessment, a 28-day course of anti-HIV medication is provided with appropriate support and follow-up.

The Security Management Team in each country is responsible for designating PEP kit custodians and for ensuring that the names of these custodians are widely circulated to all personnel, through the regular means by which security information is shared.

For more information on PEP Kits, please contact the UNDSS Security Adviser in-country. For information specifically on PEP, please contact Laurie Newell, Global Coordinator, UN Cares at or see:

Further information

For more information on the work on Gender in UNDSS, please contact the UNDSS Gender Advisers at For more information on the efforts undertaken across the UN Security Management System (UNSMS) by UNDSS and its Inter-Agency Security Management Network (IASMN) partners, please contact