Eileen Skinnider, Senior Associate, ICCLR*

You may be thinking what does gender equality have to do with organized crime? We know so little about gender in organized crime and often what we do know is based on books, movies and TV series that often portray organized crime through famous crime bosses, macho male-only gangs, guns, drugs and violence. When women are depicted it is most often as victims, mothers or lovers.

If we don’t fully understand the phenomenon of organized crime, how different segments of the population, including women and men are impacted by organized crime, the roles women and men play as perpetrators, victims or as forces to disrupt the flow of illicit goods, it makes it harder to prevent and combat organized crime effectively. Organized crime is not gender neutral and neither should be our responses.

For those who want to look at organized crime through a gender lens, there are a couple of new resources out there.

  1. UN Women and UNODC Module 17: “Gender Equality and Organized Crime”

In May 2022, UNODC and UN Women launched a new module of the “I Know Gender” series explaining why gender aspects are important when combatting organized crime. This module is an introductory online, interactive and self-paced module that seeks to explain why gender considerations matter when discussing organized crime and the criminal justice responses.

See: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/gender/news/launch-of-the-unodc-unwomen-gender-and-organized-crime-module.html

  1. Organized Crime and Gender: issues relating to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime

UNODC released an Issues Paper on Organized Crime and Gender in May 2022 which focused on gender mainstreaming in the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. One of the key takeaways from the paper is that gender mainstreaming is not a parallel effort or a “women’s issue” separate from the implementation of the Organized Crime Convention but that it is an integral part of full implementation of the Convention. By not mainstreaming gender into legislation, policies and practices to combat organized crime, this can jeopardize the effective implementation of the convention and be counterproductive to preventing and combating organized crime.

See: https://sherloc.unodc.org/cld/uploads/pdf/Issue_Paper_Organized_Crime_and_Gender_1.pdf

* Eileen developed the recently released UN Women and UNODC Module 17 on Gender Equality and Organized Crime. She also attended the UNODC online expert group meeting as an expert to support the development of a paper on gender-related issues in the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime from 1 to 2 February 2021.

Image from Module 17

Photo by Mathilda Khoo on Unsplash.

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