Gender and Disarmament Hub

About the Hub

The Gender and Disarmament Hub provides information about gendered aspects of proliferation and use of weapons, as well as of disarmament processes.

It also offers ideas and resources to promote gender equality in arms control and disarmament fora.

How does gender relate to arms control and disarmament?

In arms control and disarmament, a gender analysis (or ‘gender lens’) can be useful to assess how the attributes, opportunities, and relationships associated with a gender identity may affect issues, such as the likelihood of being targeted by weapons systems, prospects of becoming a victim/survivor of armed violence, the ability to access medical attention in the aftermath of armed conflict, and the long-lasting biological and physiological impacts of weapons on individuals.

Gender perspectives have already informed multilateral arms control and disarmament frameworks, including treaties and United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions. The inclusion of gender-responsive provisions has shed light on the differential impacts of weapons on women, men, girls and boys, and enhanced the ability of the international community to redress gender inequality.

Gender norms have resulted in differences, and thus inequalities, between women and men.

Gender Balance

Surveying seven large multilateral meetings (N>100) in 2022 reveals that women make up an average of 34% of the diplomats accredited to arms control and disarmament forums.

1 / 9
graph 1 - large disarmament forums

Gender Balance

In 2018, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed his commitment to achieving gender parity in expert groups established under his auspices. Since then, the proportion of women designated as members of Governmental Expert Groups (GGEs) in the field of disarmament has improved significantly. Between 2019 and 2022, the average proportion of women participating in GGEs reached 44%.

2 / 9
graph 2 - women participation in GGEs

Gender Balance

The proportion of women participating in disarmament diplomacy has grown steadily over the last four decades, from less than 10% of participants in 1980 to approximately 35% in 2022. However, given that women are 50% of society at large, they still remain underrepresented in this area of diplomacy.

3 / 9
graph 3 proportion of women in selected forums

Gender Balance

There is an association between gender and the distribution of diplomats across United Nations General Assembly Main Committees. While the Third Committee (on social, humanitarian and cultural issues) has already reached gender parity, the First Committee (on disarmament and international security) is still lagging behind with only 37% women diplomats.

4 / 9
graph 4 - proportion of women - 1st and 3rd committees

Gender Balance

Women are underrepresented in official meetings of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), comprising, on average, 34% of the diplomats.

5 / 9
graph 5 - ATT

Gender Balance

Women are underrepresented in official meetings of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), comprising, on average, 36% of the diplomats.

6 / 9
graph 6 - CWC

Gender Balance

Women are underrepresented in official meetings of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), comprising, on average, 35% of the diplomats.

7 / 9
graph 7 - BWC

Gender Balance

Women are underrepresented in official meetings of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), comprising, on average, 32% of the diplomats.

8 / 9
graph 8 - NPT

Gender Balance

The Open-ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communications technologies is the forum with the highest level of women’s participation. Between 2021 and 2023, the average share of women delegates is 37%. The discussions have benefitted from a high level of women’s engagement, with an average of 44% of statements being delivered by women.

The establishment of the Women in Cyber Fellowship has contributed to these developments.

9 / 9
graph 9 - OEWG on ICTs

Gender Pespectives

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

The UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (UN PoA SALW)

The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC)

The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM)

Declaration on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA)

The Open-Ended Working Group on Conventional Ammunition

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

The Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security

The Open-Ended Working Group on Reducing Space Threats

The Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons (GGE on LAWS)

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee Resolutions

Areas for Action

Ideas for multilateral fora chairs and practitioners on how to address the gender dimensions of international security affairs

  • Adopt agenda item(s) that examine gender perspectives
  • Approve mandates for integrating gender perspectives into the substance of the delegates’ work
  • Include gender-responsive language in resolutions
  • Organize gender briefings related to the substance of their work
  • Participate in the activities of the International Gender Champions Disarmament Impact Group
  • Engage with the focal points of the Network of Women, Peace and Security; and
  • Support side-events or hold informal meetings on gender on the margins of multilateral meetings
Learn more