Defence seeks to situate itself as a world leader in the operational application of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, and will complete all action items required to implement the Australian National Action Plan by December 2018.
In April 2017, the then-Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, announced the creation of a Fellowship for Women, Peace and Security at University of New South Wales, Canberra and appointed the inaugural Minister’s Fellow in February 2018. The fellowship is a two-year appointment that seeks to advance Defence’s understanding of Women, Peace and Security through academic progress and contribute to Defence’s role as a regional leader.
In the South Pacific, Defence Ministers endorsed a Women, Peace and Security initiative during the South Pacific Defence Ministers’ meeting in 2015. The initiative involves sponsoring women from Defence forces in Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Fiji to attend Women, Peace and Security seminars in Australia, and uses other initiatives such as the South Pacific Future Leaders’ Summit (most recently held in March 2018) to provide modules on Women, Peace and Security implementation.
In April 2018, Australia hosted the first Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Australia ‘Dialogue on Women, Peace and Security’ with support from the Australian Civil-Military Centre. The dialogue was opened by the Minister for Women, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, and closed by the Minister for Defence. The dialogue followed from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Australia Special Summit, hosted by the Prime Minister in Sydney on 17–18 March 2018, and was the first opportunity for Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Australia to collaborate in support of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. Robust discussions, facilitated by the dialogue, resulted in recommendations to address increasing and diverse challenges in the region.
In support of Afghanistan, Australia provides a senior gender advisor at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Resolute Support mission Headquarters. The gender advisor leads a team of advisors from coalition partners to ensure the meaningful participation and integration of women into the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. This includes developing recruitment and career progression plans and providing a gender perspective on all planning and activities in the mission. An important component of Australia’s contribution is the building of new facilities to support increased female participation in the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
In late 2017, Australia deployed the first ever Gender Advisor to the Global Coalition against Daesh. The Gender Advisor initiated a number of substantial activities in support of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Iraq, including the development and coordination of an Embassy-led gender working group and development of specific initiatives to reintroduce women into the Iraqi Security Forces.