Why is it important to talk about security with a gender approach?

Why is it important to talk about security with a gender approach?
Entre los proyectos de Gil está visibilizar a las candidatas al Congreso desde Twitter. / Óscar Pérez
Foto: Óscar Pérez

The shortcomings that the Police have and, in general, the institutions responsible for security are partly due to their homogeneity, since they have been thought, directed and organized by men.This is created.

From how to attend to victims of gender violence to the different thing that is the problem when a woman is judicialized by drug trafficking, they enter this equation.

From his experience working on issues of peace, security, drug policies, police and gender reform, Gil has participated in academic and media spaces to address the issue.He is currently official of the Open Society Foundations program.But on its own initiative, these spaces have encouraged in which the benefits of diversifying security institutions are also contemplated.In his words, he would "generate more successful public policies and we would have a better institution, because he will represent us all".

We talk with Gil about this initiative, the problems faced by security institutions in gender issues, the effects of having public policies that do not have the participation of women and the need to expand their participation in security.

What are the main problems that the public force has about gender?

There are three fundamental aspects: first, members of the public force abuse women and people LGBT+;Second, it is not an institution that knows how to address gender violence, because it is very focused on homicides and the fight against drugs and, third, it is an institution full of men, thought of men and for men.They speak in terms of their safety, they are only giving us solutions for heterosexual men, the population is much broader and needs to be taken into account.

What consequences does it bring for women?

The fact that security is so masculinized makes security policies better address all violence that exist towards us or LGBT+ people.They have no idea how to address situations when something happens with us, and what is seen is that women in these institutions are usually in administrative or technical positions.A greater rank, less women, and that makes certain crimes prioritize over others.

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How does security change if more women have power positions within the organizations in charge?

¿Por qué es importante hablar de seguridad con enfoque de género?

Being institutions that are thought from men there is no good approach to violence towards women and people LGBT+.For example, in Bogotá when they talked about Transmilenio, theft was prioritized, but with the participation of the Women's Secretariat, other issues that are also security were taken into account, such as women grope a lot in that transport.

While there are more diversity we can cover more and get with these issues, it is not only the subject that the white man, heterosexual.This also has to do with resources, in many municipalities the fight against drug trafficking and gender -based violence will always be prioritized..

Would there be a change if the police leave the Ministry of Defense?

One of the conclusions we reached in the Spaces is that it does not matter as long as the training is not changed.We can create a single ministry, but if there is still a military training, it will give us the same.

The police are militarized by the armed conflict and the fight against drug trafficking, demilitarizing it is very difficult, because they are not willing to get off status, as an institution they believe that if they are not in these issues they get off.The issue is that the police are involved in everything, and that is not their fault, but they are eradicating crops and doing aerobics in the seventh, to say something.There is a scramble of functions and are so immersed in the conflict, that they are less involved in citizen security, theft and gender violence.

And how is that change in rurality generated, where the power of the police is even more military?

We must take the weight to the armed conflict within the discussions about the Rural Police, because the role of the police focuses on consolidating the territories militarily, they reach the territories to impose the coercive power of the State.The message is not that we neglect the armed conflict, but to think beyond it, we need to focus on citizen security challenges.

We must understand much better the rurality and its governance structure taking into account the diversity of public, economic and social actors that exist, because sometimes there is a tendency to put rurality in the same bag, as if it were something homogeneous.

Drug policies are part of the security issue, how are women in the face of drug policies affected?

When they say they will fight drugs, they attack links that are constantly replaced, distributors and microtraphic women.In Latin America and Asia, most women who are in jail are for drug crimes.And the impact is that the problem is not really attacked, unnecessary expenses are increased, the justice system is collapsed and there is overcrowding in prisons.

Now, when a man is in jail his care system does not fall, instead in the case of women, who care for the son, parents, the entire care network falls and that is a great cost for the society in general.Decriminalize drugs is an alternative and there should be pardons and other options before putting a person in jail.

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Do you think that through social networks a change can be generated against the perception of women in security issues?

I make these conversations on Twitter, because I believe that attention as the distribution of power feed themselves, and in security the attention and distribution of power is usually with and for men.That is why I like to make these conversations where they are women talking about the issues that are supposedly of men, that we get used to women talking about security.

When in the panels or "manles", or in the newspaper articles there are only voices of men, ignoring women, the message is clear: gentlemen, this sector does not belong to them and I will continue doing this until it is normal to name a woman ministerof defense, that women are secretaries of security, that there are women police directors and that that does not surprise us.That it is normal to see, read, listen and learn from women in security.

How present have the security and gender issue the presidential candidates?

Speaking of drug policies, for example, there are a couple of candidates who know about the subject really, but when gender is discussed, speech is limited to saying that women will include in their campaigns, to say that women are the most importantAnd as a result the security issue in relation to gender is not present, they do not have it anywhere.

Why open these digital spaces to discuss security issues?

Before the Spaces on Twitter I made conversations with universities to amplify and make visible the voices of women experts in security issues.In the positions of power of the sector, as Minister of Defense and in Public Forces, there are always men, we have only had a Minister of Defense, but no more;In the academy are men and in the media are also the only source.Women can talk about security in general, not just women's issues because sometimes that is bias.

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Why use Twitter as a means to deal with this issue?

I decided to organize these Spaces for two main reasons: to make open conversations about the Police Reform Considering that most discussions on this issue are carried out in closed spaces or with a very academic and technical profile.The second is that it had a clear intention that the conversation included various and new voices beyond the "usual experts", which, because of the usual bias in security matters, tend to be mostly men.

How did the debate spaces developed?

Each Space dealt with a topic on police reform and fight against drug trafficking, reform and esmad, reform and gender, reform and justice, reform and local dynamics, total were 11 for seven months.In each most of the voices were women, in all they were looking for experts and other people who know about the subject, but are not designated as experts, leaders of civil society organizations that have had to do with the police, youth leaders, youth leaders,profiles that are in the security environment.

Did the police participate?

I invited the police many times and never wanted.They said that it was internally difficult, but the door was alwayswas controlled by them.Although the Police were not as an institution, several expollations did participate, there was a balance of opinions that allowed a debate.

How to make these debate spaces reach more people?

I began to organize them on my own and the second Space Fescol approached because he was interested in the idea of democratizing the conversation of reform to the police and proposed to publish some documents, which will leave in March, with the main points of each SPAC and general recommendations of Public politics.We want them to reach the candidates and people who arrive at Congress so that this issue is part of their agenda.


In the spaces organized by Gil, which summoned more than 100 participants each, the expert women were a majority.Among them María Fernanda Fuentes, former Secretary Security of Cúcuta participated;Isabel Gutiérrez, member of the Police Transformation Advisory Table;Sandra Borda, author of the book to move forward, and Chilean Lucía Dammert, expert in police reform in Latin America.In total, there were about 45 men and women who participated as panelists in these conversations.