Latest News



Training on Gender Mainstreaming from a Feminist Perspective

As part of WILPF’s initiative ‘Feminist Movement for Change in Syria’, 15 participants from partner organisations were gathered physically for the first time for a training on gender mainstreaming in organisational activities and policies.

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
26 October 2018

October 26, 2018

[Beirut, 15-17 August 2018]

As part of WILPF’s initiative ‘Feminist Movement for Change in Syria’, 15 participants from partner organisations were gathered physically for the first time for a training on gender mainstreaming in organisational activities and policies.

“I already had a good understanding of gender, bodily and sexual rights, but found the training excellent as it had finally provided me with the practical skills to be able to incorporate that knowledge into my work,” said a member of the Syrian Women’s Network after the training.

Bridging theory and practice

On the agenda for the three days training were topics such as the differences between gender and sex, understanding masculinities and femininities, and the external and internal factors that hinder gender mainstreaming in organisations. WILPF had teamed up with two well-known feminist experts, Dr. Nof Nasser Eddein and Dr. Nour Abu-Assab, founders and directors of the Centre for Transnational Development and Collaboration, to design the training based on the needs of the partner organisations.

WILPF is an atypical organisation when it comes to training and learning. That of WILPF is never a controlled top-down approach. Instead, following a learning paradigm that is rooted in a democratic sharing of different types of knowledge, WILPF believes that learning happens in the space of exchange between participants’ theoretical insights and real-life experiences.

The training on Gender Mainstreaming was such an occasion. Trainers, participants and WILPF project staff engaged in learning activities through sharing professional and personal experiences all the more facilitated by a safe environment where constructive criticism allowed for new ideas to emerge.

Unwrapping the gender toolbox

The three days were facilitated by Dr. Nof Nasser Eddein and Dr. Nour Abu-Assab, who designed the agenda in close coordination with WILPF’s project team.

The first day aimed at training the participants to differentiate between gender and sex, define gender as socially constructed performances, understand masculinities and femininities, unpack gender stereotypes, and define gender- and sex-based violence.

On day two, the training aimed at enhancing the participants’ understanding of gender analysis methodologies, external and internal factors that hinder gender mainstreaming in organisations, and analyse internal and external factors that determine gender dynamics in Syria.

The last day focused on applying gender mainstreaming in the participants’ organisations, understanding gender sensitive leadership in the workplace and understanding representation and diversity in a qualitative manner.

Through exercises, the participants made strategic gender goals for their organisations, practiced how to improve gender sensitive policies, and how to mainstream gender in their projects, programmes and budgets.

Finally, the training covered gender-responsive monitoring and evaluation tools that could find implementation within the partner organisations.

Language is the key to power

It is an established idea that the way we talk about different topics shapes the way we think, and in the end construct our reality. However, this insight is better placed in an academic setting rather than in the day-to-day practices of an organisation.

During a PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) analysis exercise, the participants discussed how the entire Syrian Constitution is written using solely masculine nouns. Like many other languages, Arabic words are gendered, being either masculine or feminine. With this insight as the starting point the participants realised that this also (often) applies to their own organisational policies, fundraising proposals, public campaigns, Facebook updates etc. They were actually doing what they wanted to avoid: shaping the world in a masculine direction and neglecting to challenge existing gender norms. Instead they were through their use of language reproducing inequality in the workplace.

“Our organisation has not been applying a gender lens in our work. This training has been very important in terms of gender mainstreaming, and I will now be able to integrate a gender perspective into our workplace policies and projects,” said Manal Quider, the Head of ‘Damma’, a women-led organisation with the goal of empowering women.

Moving forward

The three-day training was very well received by the participants. Some even insisted on continuing the exercises after the training had ended.

The training was just the starting point for the partner organisations’ upcoming work on incorporating the acquired knowledge into their internal and external policies, in the design and implementation of their projects and programmes, and in their proposals and budgets.

As a continuation to the training, over the coming months the two trainers will follow up with the participants individually in scheduled monthly sessions to answer questions, review organisational policies drafted, and provide feedback and advise the participants on how to improve and implement policies with a feminist gender perspective.

To accommodate the needs of some partner organisations who were not able to travel due to instability and travel restrictions, the training was delivered online two weeks later through three webinars held in Arabic.

The activities taking place under the initiative are tailored around the needs of the partner organisations, and this specific face-to-face training on gender mainstreaming within organisations had been high on the partner organisations’ wish list.

The training took place between 15-17 August 2018 in Beirut, Lebanon.

Read more about WILPF’s Initiative: Feminist Movement for Change.

Feminist Movement for Change

WILPF’s initiative “Feminist Movement for Change” is a pilot project designed to support 19 Syrian organisations to further their feminist agendas through flexible funding and technical support. Through this support, and the coordination opportunities provided within the initiative, partner organisations will be able to develop sustainable and effective structures, strengthen networks for collective growth, and ultimately push for a feminist agenda.

Share the post

WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

Your donation isn’t just a financial transaction; it’s a step toward a more compassionate and equitable world. With your support, we’re poised to achieve lasting change that echoes through generations. Thank you!

Thank you!

Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris facilisis luctus rhoncus. Praesent eget tellus sit amet enim consectetur condimentum et vel ante. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse et nunc sem. Vivamus ullamcorper vestibulum neque, a interdum nisl accumsan ac. Cras ut condimentum turpis. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae; Curabitur efficitur gravida ipsum, quis ultricies erat iaculis pellentesque. Nulla congue iaculis feugiat. Suspendisse euismod congue ultricies. Sed blandit neque in libero ultricies aliquam. Donec euismod eget diam vitae vehicula. Fusce hendrerit purus leo. Aenean malesuada, ante eu aliquet mollis, diam erat suscipit eros, in.


WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

Skip to content