Gender and Disarmament Readings

15 April 2020
Gender and Disarmament Readings


From the Gender & Disarmament Programme

How does gender relate to arms control and disarmament?
From different angles, researchers have approached this question, producing knowledge and analysis on gender balance as well as gender-responsive arms control and disarmament.

If you want to learn more, here are ten recent publications to get you up to date with the latest developments in the field.


Women in Arms Control: Time for a Gender Turn?
Renata Dwan, Arms Control Today, October 2019.

The past few years have seen a positive trend towards gender balance in arms control and disarmament. Despite recent progress, at the current rate, gender parity in disarmament diplomacy will only be reached in 2040, and gender balance among heads of delegations will be achieved in 2065. How can we speed up this process?
The Director of UNIDIR analyzes the recurrent obstacles that women face in disarmament diplomacy and proposes practical steps to mainstream gender, including addressing work-life balance, tackling unconscious bias, and bringing gender into substantive discussions.

Still Behind the Curve: Gender Balance in Arms Control, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Diplomacy
Renata Hessmann Dalaqua, Kjølv Egeland, Torbjørn Graff Hugo, UNIDIR, June 2019.

To understand gendered patterns of engagement in disarmament diplomacy, UNIDIR conducted extensive quantitative and qualitative analysis on women’s participation and gender balance in arms control and disarmament.
The study found that women diplomats are still significantly underrepresented in multilateral forums dealing with weapons, comprising only a third of diplomats accredited to arms control and disarmament conferences. In smaller, more specialized forums, the average proportion of women drops to twenty percent. The study contains several graphs, offering a visualization of gender (im)balance in this policy area.

Women in Cybersecurity: Young, Educated and Ready to Take Charge
(ISC)2, April, 2019.

The report by (ISC)² presents views of cybersecurity professionals in North America, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific. It shows that, on average, women comprise one-quarter of the cybersecurity workforce. Women professionals are usually younger, more educated, and earn less compared to their men colleagues. Beyond these differences, the research found that women and men face similar challenges in their daily work, including low-security awareness among end-users, insufficient availability of cybersecurity professionals, inadequate funding and lack of management support or awareness.

The “Consensual Straitjacket”: Four Decades of Women in Nuclear Security
Heather Hurlburt, Elizabeth Weingarten, Alexandra Stark, Elena Souris, New America, March 2019.

What can we learn from the professional stories of women working in the nuclear sector? Researchers at the New America Foundation interviewed 23 women who have occupied prominent roles in US nuclear security structures. They reflected on their professional trajectories and the importance of diversity in the nuclear field.


Gender Responsive Small Arms Control in the Decade of Action for the SDGs
The Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, February, 2020.

Small arms are a major contributor to the global burden of violence, featuring in almost half of all violent deaths that occur worldwide. To tackle this problem, the Pathfinders propose gender-responsive small arms control as a means to limit the availability of these weapons and reducing the harm they cause. They recommend 7 strategies to guide the development of regionally, nationally, and locally tailored measures focused on awareness-raising, building up evidence, mobilizing resources, among other actions.

Gender-responsive Small Arms Control: A Practical Guide
Emile LeBrun (Ed.), Small Arms Survey, October 2019.

At the policy level, a growing number of actors have been calling for the convergence of global agendas on small arms control and women, peace, and security. But how can this be translated into practical programming for small arms control? To help answer this question, the Small Arms Survey developed a handbook, which includes ideas to apply a gender analysis to the small arms life cycle, case studies, and a roadmap for mainstreaming gender into the small arms project cycle.


Missing Links: Understanding Sex- and Gender-Related Impacts of Chemical and Biological Weapons
Renata Hessmann Dalaqua, James Revill, Alastair Hay, Nancy Connell, UNIDIR, November 2019.

Despite growing interest in gender perspectives, multilateral debates on chemical and biological weapons have not fully considered the relevance of gender analysis to assistance policies. In this report, UNIDIR researchers provide an overview of existing literature relevant to understanding the linkages between gender and biological and chemical weapons; focusing on analyzing possible sex- and gender-specific effects of these weapons. They argue that a gender lens could help to increase resilience and to aid recovery from chemical or biological incidents.

A New Vision: Gender. Justice. National Security
Tom Colina and Cara Wagner (Eds.), Ploughshares Fund, April 2019.

This collection by Ploughshares Fund presents essays by women with experience in the field of national security, including nuclear weapons policy. The articles question power dynamics and injustice in a field that, historically, has been dominated by older, upper-middle-class, men. Connecting different perspectives, the report seeks to propose a diverse, equitable, inclusive and just new vision for nuclear policy and national security.


Cyber, Technology and Gender: What Are We Missing?
Lisa Sharland and Hannah Smith, The Strategist, June 2019.

In this article, Lisa Sharland and Hannah Smith explore different ways in which gender and cybertechnology are interconnected: AI and related devices are using women’s voices in service roles, geolocation services have been used by abusers to track partners or harass individuals, and women are 27 times more likely than men to be harassed online. Improving women’s participation in this field is a first step to tackle bias in technology, which should be followed by initiatives to combat gender stereotypes in the cyber domain.

AI and Gender: Four Proposals for Future Research
The Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, June 2019.

In this report, the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence Centre identifies four major challenges for gender equality raised by AI: bridging gender theory and AI practice, law and policy, biased datasets, and lack diversity in the AI workforce. The authors propose ideas to stimulate research provoke action on those four fronts.