ADF supports United Nations HeForShe initiative
31 October 2016
Army Officer Captain Nathan Bradney is deployed as a staff officer in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), but also fulfills an ever important role for operations as the gender advisor to the Indian Sector Commander.
This year, CAPT Bradney spearheaded the Sector East HeForShe day, a day of gender training and awareness events targeted at the entire Sector East community. Events included a women's lunch, a pledge ceremony, a tour of the Bor School girls football program, and finally a tour of the Bor Protection of Civilians site by the women who call it home.
The 20th of September 2016 marked the second anniversary of the United Nations (UN) HeForShe program, which is seen as a focal point for the pursuit of universal gender equality.
The principal aim of HeForShe is to end gender inequality, seeking to mobilise men and boys to become change agents in pursuit of gender equality.
"Previous movements in the pursuit of gender equality have focused on female participation," CAPT Bradney said.
"HeForShe acknowledges that enduring change can only be realised if the entire gender spectrum is involved,"
"HeForShe tackles issues such as gender based violence, under representation of women in leadership, and the role of women in peace and security."
CAPT Bradney highlighted that being a male gender advisor can be challenging.
"I have faced skepticism from males who assume only females can fill gender advisory roles, as well as cynicism from women, who believe men should not fill such positions as they have no inherent understanding of what it is to be female," he said.
"The role of gender advisors is traditionally female focused; however their role is to provide advice to a commander across the entire gender spectrum,"
"As a male gender advisor, I can attest that there is an efficacy to male initiated gender discussions, particularly when the audience is predominantly male and from countries not used to sharing women's issues."
"Male change agents can have a strong effect in breaking the social norms of gender inequality by challenging common assumptions and stereotypes."
HeForShe addresses these issues by empowering both men and women to take action to create real change in gender equality by encouraging everyone to stand together and take action.
The first step in the HeForShe journey is a simple online affirmation on the HeForShe website, which asks individuals to acknowledge that gender equality is not just a women's issue, but a human rights issue that requires a unified approach.
Hundreds of thousands of individuals have made the affirmation globally, demonstrating a global resolve and commitment to action.
UNMISS is the international body established to retain peace and security in South Sudan. The Australian contingent to the Mission is up to 25 personnel, predominantly in staff officer positions.