Women in foreign affairs and international security: Still far from gender equality

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Series Details PE 689.356
Publication Date March 2021
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The debate on the participation and role of women in foreign affairs and international security is a timely and relevant one, and is being raised with increasing frequency at both national and international levels. In particular, there is growing attention to the imbalances in the representation of women in leadership and other key positions in the area of foreign and security policy, as well as to the growing body of evidence regarding the positive effect of including women in several key areas of foreign and security policy. While gaps persist, women's representation at management and ministerial levels in the areas of foreign affairs and security has increased whether in the European Union (EU), the United States (US) or at the United Nations (UN) level.

Among these issues, women's role in peacekeeping receives particular attention, as research has consistently shown that gender equality contributes to peace, and that peace negotiations involving women have a better chance of being sustainable and effective. Gender-equal societies enjoy better health, stronger economic growth and higher security. The UN and the EU have put pronounced emphasis on the issue in the past two decades. UN Security Council Resolution 1325 established the 'women, peace and security' (WPS) agenda in 2000. Since then, more WPS-related resolutions have been adopted, widening the scope and breadth of gendered peace and security. These resolutions have been instrumental in changing the philosophy and rhetoric focused on conflict and gender equality, thereby challenging the international community to do more. Several initiatives are also being implemented at EU level, including through the 2018 EU strategic approach to WPS. However, critics underline that a lot remains to be done, as women continue to be under-represented in the field of foreign and security policy across the world.

Further information:

This is an update to a previous existing EPRS Briefing (which can be accessed in the Related Links section).

Source Link https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2021)689356
Alternative sources
  • https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2021/689356/EPRS_BRI(2021)689356_EN.pdf
Related Links
EPRS: Briefing, September 2019: Women in foreign affairs and international security: Contours of a timely debate https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2019)640159

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