Gender, Peace and Security

PNND program on gender inclusion, equity, perspectives and issues relating to nuclear disarmament, peace, security and sustainable development. 

Introduction

PNND is committed to gender inclusion and equity in its organisational structure and activities across all programs. In addition, PNND has a specific program which explores and promotes gender perspectives and issues relating to nuclear disarmament, peace, security and sustainable development.

A Gender Approach

A gender approach includes a dual focus on:

  1. the inclusion of the different sexes (male, female and non-determinate) in program activities and positions of authority,
  2. the incorporation of different gender approaches to security in social and political systems.  

Discourse and decision making in security sectors have been dominated by  the perspectives and experiences of men, who have tended to hold the leadership positions.  A focus on gender inclusion is important to ensure gender equity (equal rights to participation) and to ensure more effective decision making and policy development arising from such inclusion. A focus on incorporation of different gender approaches to security is important to ensure that a full range of security approaches is available to address security challenges.

Gender and the Nuclear Disarmament Field

Gender plays out in three key ways in the nuclear disarmament field – inclusion, political dynamics and nuclear weapons impact.

Although there have been some improvements on inclusion over the past decade, men still dominate the political, academic, scientific and NGO leadership positions in the nuclear weapons field. This needs to be addressed.

With regard to political dynamics, nuclearism is a key expression of militarism which derives from a long legacy of conventional understandings of national security defined by the threat or use of force. A gender approach provides a more balanced consideration of a range of approaches to security including human security and common security, and the additional contradictions these security frameworks establish for nuclear deterrence. 

With regard to nuclear weapons impact, Securing our Common Future, the UN Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda released in 2018, recognises that weapons production, testing, deployment and use can impact differently on women than on men. In the case of nuclear weapons, the radioactive contamination from nuclear testing and use has specific, significant and discriminatory physical impacts on childbearing women due to the effect of radiation on genetic code and reproductive systems. This also creates additional social and political impact on women due to the roles of motherhood in societies. These aspects need to be considered in nuclear weapons discourse.   

PNND: What Do We Do?

Gender issues have always been a key priority within the organisation, reflected equally in our leadership, staff makeup, project approaches and program activities. Indeed, our first five Co-Presidents were all women, and our Council continues with a balance of male/female members of around 50/50.

To further address these issues - both in ways of thinking (about nuclearism, security and the avenues and possibilities of disarmament) and in our organisational structure - we decided to launch a Gender, Peace and Security Program.

Actions, Events & Appeals

Among our projects with a dedicated gender focus, you will find: an international conference held in Prague 2019 reliving the legacy of Bertha von Suttner; a women's peace and disarmament appeal for human security launched in 2020; a special section on women's participation in disarmament in the Parliamentary Handbook on Disarmament for Security and Sustainable Devlopment, and an article and podcast series (now in the making) engaging with influential women leaders in peace and nuclear disarmament.