RSS feed LinkedIn Watch us on Youtube

Activity title

Integrating Gender and Cultural Perspectives in Professional Military Education Programmes

Activity Reference



Human Factors and Medicine

Security Classification




Activity type


Start date


End date



GENADs, gender perspectives, Professional military education


Based on an assessment by an exploratory team (HFM-161-ET), an RTG is being established to examine the pedagogy and curricula that is needed for national level professional military education (PME) in order to develop the capacities for senior generalist staff officers to understand and apply gender and cultural perspectives across the full scope of potential duties. As background, NATO has drawn on a series of UN Security Council Resolutions to clearly articulate the requirement to apply gender perspectives in conducting NATO-led operations as well as in developing NATO policies and programmes and has developed guidance and supporting training materials for nations as well as NATO common courses. The focus of this RTG is on national PME and not on NATO courses or policies with the important note that gender training is a national responsibility for troop contributing countries. In order to address these requirements, the ET has confirmed that scientific research is required to develop appropriate pedagogy to ensure learning for gender and cultural perspectives is effectively integrated with all other curricula being delivered including examining unique aspects of PME for senior officers. Ultimately, Insufficient development of the capacities of generalist officers attending national PME to understand and apply gender and cultural perspectives in their duties will not achieve sufficient standardization to ensure interoperability; could diminish the effectiveness of NATO specialist (GENADs); and, would undermine the application of these perspectives by generalist staff officers as part of both NATO-led operations and in their analyses and development of internal policies and programmes. The ET analyses identified that research will have to address five key issues. The first pertains to the existing literature on the design of learning activities in military. Analyses as part of the ET confirmed that additional work is needed to examine theories related to pedagogy, andragogy and heutagogy as well as conceptual differences across disciplines to determine the most appropriate methodologies to develop requisite competencies. The second is that developing the capacity to understand and apply gender perspectives has to occur within a curriculum and broader military culture which is already highly gendered. Further, the intent is for this learning has to enable generalist staff officers to apply gender perspectives in a cross-cultural context. Little exists in the academic or professional literatures on how to overcome the challenges of gendered and cultural ethnocentrism with military audiences. Third, this learning must be transformative leading to self-insights and self-understanding with groups of senior officers with a well-established personal identity and an engrained professional worldview. Fourth, the learning related to acquiring gender and cultural perspectives needs to be effectively integrated with the broad range of topics that are addressed in the typical year-long PME. Finally, on order to address these four issues, it is recognized that initial analyses are required to examine differences across nations, in particular, to understand how relevant UN, NATO and national policies have been understood and why the emphasis in curriculum has been placed on specific topics or applications within this policy framework.


Integrative research will be conducted to: • Map the existing curricula for participating nations and, based on this mapping, examine how and why the application of common UN and NATO policies results in significantly different curricula; • Examine the pedagogy applied in graduate level learning in the behavioural sciences specifically related to developing gender and cultural perspectives in the senior officer cohort; • Evaluate the techniques which may be applied when delivering learning which challenges taken-for-granted assumptions; implicit biases or associations; socially-constructed identities, beliefs, expectations and stereotypes; and, professional identities and practical theories which senior leaders have developed over many years of service; and • Draw on best practices in the design, delivery and assessment of complex or transformative learning in senior officer PME.


The topics will include, but are not limited to: • Assessment of the role of NATO, UN and national policies/doctrine in defining the learning requirements for gender and cultural perspectives with consideration of the rationale for national differences; • Collation and comparison of the curricula being used at various PME centres to address the development of respective gender and cultural perspectives; • Consideration of the differences in the expertise to be developed for generalist staff officers applying gender perspectives in the context of operational planning versus the development of internal policies and programmes; • Examination of pedagogical theories and approaches in facilitating adult learning for experienced practitioners as well as conceptual differences across disciplines in understanding gender and culture to identify optimum curriculum design, delivery and assessment; • Assessment of the factors to be considered when integrating gender and cultural perspectives in a holistic manner in order to achieve the overall learning objectives of senior officer PME • Specific topics to be addressed include: o Defining relevant learning objectives o Describing the specific topics that need to be addressed including complementary/enhancing aspects and depth of coverage needed across theory, practice and self-insight o Articulating the generalized assumptions regarding the student body o Identifying the types of learning activities that will optimize long-term retention of requisite learning for different domains of the subject matter; and o Examining the expertise and support required to optimize instructor effectiveness

Contact Panel Office