Dr. Louise Olsson and Capt. Anna Björsson, in “Gender Training for Leaders: The Swedish Gender Coach Program,” draw lessons from a program which aims to strengthen the ability of senior leaders in security, defense, and foreign affairs ministries to understand and ensure gender equality in their organizations. Senior leadership is instrumental both for creating demand for the organizational changes, and for ensuring an effective use of expert support functions, such as gender advisers. The authors detail the evolution and strengths of this program to offer best practices for leadership training programs in other security forces. They argue that such training must be designed to facilitate the leaders’ ownership of the process, and that key elements include:
- A parallel support structure, in which the person providing gender training has a similar level of seniority to the person receiving training, allows for potentially sensitive issues to be addressed more effectively;
- Strong leadership commitment, perseverance, institutionalization of practices, and education of personnel are required to build organizational capacity on gender equality.