Gender and Security

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly has been a committed champion of the principle that women are equal partners in the pursuit of peace and security. The issue of gender and security started to receive greater attention particularly after 2007, when the Assembly’s Standing Committee recognised that parliamentarians have an important and specific role to play in promoting the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

Much progress has been achieved in mainstreaming gender in the Assembly’s activities and policies, such as in Committee reports, Assembly resolutions, through guest speaker presentations in Committee meetings, sessions and seminars. It has become a tradition that the Secretary General’s regular reports to the Standing Committee on future Assembly activities and subjects routinely include a section related to the coverage of gender and security, and the Standing Committee provides ongoing guidance. This procedure has greatly helped the progressive mainstreaming of gender into the work of the Committees and other Assembly bodies.

In addition, the Assembly regularly organises high visibility initiatives on the topic of gender and security. These have included for instance a panel discussion with British female officers during the plenary sitting at the Annual Session in Edinburgh in November 2009; and a panel discussion on women in Afghanistan during the plenary sitting at the Annual Session in Bucharest in October 2011.

In March 2015, the NATO PA Bureau commissioned a comprehensive review of the Assembly’s approach to gender and security. This led to the adoption of further measures to mainstream gender in the Assembly’s work and promote a fairer representation of men and women among Assembly members and elected officers.

UN Security Council Resolution 1325

The adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security on 31 October 2000 was an historic milestone on the road towards a peace and security policy which recognises women’s key role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts. It was also a milestone towards the protection of women and girls from sexual and other violence in situations of armed conflict.

NATO has taken action to promote gender equality and the participation of women within its own organisation and structures.  At the 2014 Wales Summit, Allied leaders supported the integration of a gender perspective throughout NATO’s three essential core tasks (i.e. collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security). The NATO Secretary General also appointed a Special Representative to serve as the high-level focal point on all aspects of NATO’s contribution to the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

The Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security (CDS) has taken the lead in advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda within the NATO PA. At the Annual Session in Warsaw in November 2010, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of UNSCR 1325, the Assembly adopted Resolution 381 presented by the CDS Committee, calling for the incorporation of UNSCR 1325 into NATO policies and practices. In 2011, the Committee also conducted its first survey of implementation of UNSCR 1325 in NATO countries. Since then, the Committee has published surveys every other year produced in cooperation with the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of the Armed Forces.