This article is a contribution to critical International Relations scholarship on European Union foreign and security policy and to the debates on “Normative Europe”. It focuses on the ways in which the EU engages with their own gender equality policies in external Security Sector Reform (SSR) missions. By analysing visual materials of the European Union Advisory Mission-Ukraine (EUAM Ukraine) and European Union Capacity Building Mission in Sahel Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali) missions, this article identifies the discrepancies between the EU’s proclaimed policy goals about gender equality and visual representations of women and men in the missions’ newsletter photos. These representations reflect a lacklustre approach and suggest a lack of commitment to practices of gender equality and positive role modelling in SSR’s day-to-day activities. This article suggests the EU-SSR missions overhaul their public communication strategies to focus first on “how” to communicate gender equality norms and only then on “what” to communicate. This study shows one concrete opportunity and space where this can be achieved.