Conference on gender violence seeks to transform men’s attitudes

President Michael D Higgins to address event in Dublin

Capt Deirdre Carbery of the Defence Forces says there is a direct correlation between gender, inequality and insecurity.

Capt Deirdre Carbery of the Defence Forces says there is a direct correlation between gender, inequality and insecurity.

 

Transforming men’s attitudes and behaviours to help end violence against women and girls will be at the core of a conference on gender-based violence in Dublin on Wednesday.

The Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence (ICGBV) is holding its annual seminar, in partnership with the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) and the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI).

It will look at global perspectives from organisations working in Lebanon, Malawi and Ireland.

President Michael D Higgins will deliver the opening address at the event in the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. Mr Higgins is one of 10 world leaders who were invited by the United Nations to be ‘global champions’ of its HeforShe solidarity campaign.

Speakers will include representatives of Irish Aid, the Defence Forces, NGOs, the National Women’s Council and a Lebanese gender equality organisation.

There will be a short film on the decade-long history of the Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence.

Capt Deirdre Carbery, an instructor at the UN training school run by the Defence Forces, has been involved with the consortium since 2010 and has made gender-awareness her teaching speciality.

Her own experience as a platoon commander in Lebanon in 2013-2014 increased her understanding of power dynamics, gender-based violence and violence against women and men, she says.

“It is a security issue. There’s a direct correlation between gender, inequality and insecurity.”

Members of the Defence Forces have also been able to pass on their experience to partner organisations overseas. The organisation began engaging on gender-based violence in the aftermath of the conflict in South Sudan in 2000, from which emerged a UN security resolution.

“In 2000, we had UN security resolution 1325, and at that time it put a huge international focus on the disproportionate impact conflict has on women and girls. That really resonated with us in the Defence Forces. It was quite progressive for a military organisation to engage in these issues,” Capt Carbery says.

One in three women will experience gender-based violence, a large proportion of which is at the hands of a current or ex-partner.

Capt Carbery notes that in the 25 most recent major conflicts worldwide, conflict-related sexual violence has “grown exponentially – against women and against men”.

“Instances of conflict-related sexual violence and gender violence increase again in times of natural disasters.”

The Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence was established in 2005 as a response to reports of ongoing and systematic sexual violence against women and girls in the Darfur Region of Sudan. Former president Mary Robinson has been its patron since its foundation.