Landmines – another gender issue, would you believe

// 10 September 2008

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:


Comments From You

secretrebel // Posted 10 September 2008 at 6:35 pm

Interesting article but I don’t understand the image. I downloaded the original report and it also doesn’t explain how this diagram works to represent the land clearance.

Cabalamat // Posted 14 September 2008 at 7:19 pm

I think the diagram is meant to be a map of an area — it isn’t well labelled. I’m also surprised if there is much mine clearance going on in Jordan since there hasn’t been much recent warfare there.

Virginie Rozès // Posted 17 November 2008 at 2:47 pm

Dear Jess, Secretrebel and Cabalamat,

I would like to present myself. My name is Virginie Rozès from the Swiss Campaign to Ban Landmines, and I am one of the main authors of the report you are referring to, and I came accross your blog doing a search on gender and mine action on Google!

I would like to thank you for your interest in our report.

It is really interesting for us to read the comments about the map of identified zones by women and men in Jordan. This map shows that when interviewed by survey tems on where the landmines are, women have identified different contaminated zones than men had, which means that precious/vital information would have been left out if only men had been given a say… as it is too often the case in mine action! Regarding the presence of landmines in Jordan, this reveals the horrible power of landmines which continue to hinder growth and development long after the conflict is over. As Cabalamat says, yes, there hasn’t been any recent conflict in Jordan, but the country is still suffering the remnants of past wars…

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want further information on gender and mine action, you can find our contact details on our website (


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