[…]

Landmines are bad for everyone. Really bad. That much, we should hope, is obvious.

But how does gender impact on landmine clearance? Traditionally, not at all, but according to this report by the Swiss Campaign to Ban Landmines, it is high time that it was taken into account.

There’s loads of information in the massive report, but I was really interested in an example of good practice the report draws attention to in Jordan:

Information was gathered from women and men in the communities by survey teams which also consisted of women and men surveyors. Convenient times and locations for the meetings were chosen to make sure all segments of society could participate. By discussing how minefields threaten lives and block development and how the clearance would improve life for women, men, girls and boys, people submitted information on where landmine accidents had taken place.

The technical assessment results showed that males and females identified different areas as contaminated by landmines. As the picture below indicates, women and men may have access to different information depending on mobility patterns, daily tasks and knowledge. One of the main conclusions drawn from the experience was that clearance recommendations have to take into account the needs of both women and men, and that female participation is not only relevant for gender balance, but also for obtaining relevant data.

Take a look at this image, a vivid depiction of why a gender-sensitive approach was a great idea in this case – as it demonstrates that land mine-ridden areas would not have been identified, and perhaps not cleared, if women weren’t asked. The report doesn’t detail why there was a discrepancy, but it seems fair to surmise that those were probably areas that only or mostly women went to. Therefore women would have been, as usual, the losers if the team had not consulted them:

landmines.gif