NATO PA releases 2020 Review of the Consideration of Gender, agrees proposal for Women in Defence award

30 March 2021

The 2020 Review of the Assembly’s Consideration of Gender has been publicly released as a digital publication – a day after the report was presented and discussed at the early-spring meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s (NATO PA) Standing Committee. Members also agreed a proposal, put forward by Vice-President Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam (France), to create an annual NATO PA Prize for a Champion of Women in Peace, Defence and Security. 

The NATO PA is committed to advancing the implementation by NATO and national parliaments of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda. With this new annual prize, the NATO PA seeks to give greater visibility to extraordinary women’s engagement and contribution to peace, defence and security by recognizing one woman’s compelling achievement. The full proposal will be presented later in the spring. 

The 2020 Review of the Assembly’s Consideration of Gender addresses progress within the NATO PA towards gender mainstreaming and towards a more representative gender balance in 2020. It also previews related 2021 Assembly activities. Since 2017, the NATO PA Secretary General presents annual, public updates on these matters.   

2020 saw much improved coverage of gender-related topics in the Assembly’s programme of work after fairly limited coverage in 2019. The year marked the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UNSCR 1325 and provided several important opportunities to promote the WPS agenda, despite the massive disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Overall progress towards a more gender-balanced Assembly membership has also been made in the past year. 

  • While the overall share of women in national delegations has remained relatively stable in past years at 14-16%, it currently stands at 18.8% – - the highest share since reporting began (2016). 
  • Seven national delegations are led by women, the highest number in the past five years.  
  • At the 2020 Annual Session, 26% of parliamentary participants were women. This is the highest share since statistics have been compiled (2016) and surpasses the previous record in 2018 (20%).   
  • Of the delegations which have held elections since the last report, four have a larger number of women than prior to elections.   
  • For the first time, the Assembly elected a Bureau at its 2020 Annual Session which includes a majority of women in 2020. 

The 2020 review thus shows the Assembly has made progress on the twin goals of enhanced gender mainstreaming and improved gender balance, a progress which is increasingly being translated into lasting practices within the Assembly.  

At yesterday’s meeting, the Standing Committee confirmed a 2021 work programme, which includes several important opportunities to highlight the WPS agenda.  


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