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Annual Report 2014–15

Staff Profiles

Louise DesJardins

Integrating the gender perspective in Talisman Sabre 2015

RAAF Williamtown’s Wing Commander Louise DesJardins, Executive Officer 41 Wing, will
be the first ADF gender adviser on board the
USS Blue Ridge for the upcoming Defence Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015.

Talisman Sabre is a biennial combined Australian and US training activity, designed to train, and improve combat readiness between, the respective forces.

The inclusion of a gender adviser within the exercise comes as Defence embraces the Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012–2018. With United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security as its blueprint, the plan aims to increase operational effectiveness where conflict affects women and girls.

‘In the role, I will be providing advice to the Senior US Commander and his staff to ensure that a gender perspective is incorporated into the conduct of the exercise’, Louise said.

‘As this is the first time that considerations about women, peace and security have been included in such a large-scale multinational exercise, it will be a learning process at all levels.’

Louise said she expects the role to be both exciting and challenging: ‘I’ll be expected to have a high-level understanding of women, peace and security, and be ready to recognise situations and scenarios that need consideration within that framework’, she said.

‘It’s incredibly important to have the ear of the commander to enable him to have the right information at the right time so that decisions can be made that have the principles of women, peace and security at their core. There will be gender advisers across the exercise who will be looking at how we can learn from it to improve our operational effectiveness for the future.’

Both Australia and the United States have released national action plans, which outline what will be done to integrate a gender perspective within peace and security efforts, protect women’s and girls’ human rights, and promote their participation in conflict prevention, management and resolution.

‘We have to be able to implement that plan in military operations and this exercise is one of the steps in doing so’, she said.

‘We need to ensure that the women, peace and security perspective eventually becomes business as usual in all our peace and security activities. We can assist in making a sustained difference to the lives of women and girls around the world and a lasting contribution to global peace and security. Australia has a responsibility to ensure that the rights of women and girls are protected and that women are empowered to participate in formal peace and security processes.’

Original article and photograph courtesy of Nikki Taylor and the Air Force Association Advocate.