Disarmament and gender

  • People are differently involved in and impacted by weapons, armed conflict and security based on their gender and other factors. Analyzing disarmament processes and policies through a gender lens casts them in a new light and suggest more effective and sustainable solutions.
  • In 2000, the Security Council adopted the first resolution on women, peace and security (WPS) acknowledging the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women and girls and calling for women’s full involvement in all peace and security efforts. The General Assembly, in its resolution 65/69 (2010) and subsequent resolutions on women, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, also encourages better understanding of the gendered impact of armed conflict and calls for equal opportunities and increase in the participation of women in disarmament decision-making.
  • Nevertheless, women remain underrepresented and make up only approximately one third of participants in multilateral disarmament meetings; even fewer are heads of delegations. 
  • Moreover, disarmament is central for achieving global gender equality, which has been affirmed in the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in 1979 and in the 1995 landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on women’s rights. Linking disarmament and efforts for gender equality is also key for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, including goal 5 on gender equality.



November 2023

Izumi Nakamitsu’s video message on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Empowering Women in Ammunition Management: insights from a roundtable discussion at the Office for Disarmament Affairs in Vienna

October 2023

High Representative for Disarmament Affairs delivered remarks at the Singapore International Cyber Week Plenary on Women in Cyber

September 2023

High Representative for Disarmament Affairs delivers remarks at Civilian Research and Development Foundation Global’s Annual Breaking Barriers Event on Women in Science & Security

August 2023

June 2023

May 2023

Izumi Nakamitsu discussed diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility during the Chemical Weapons Convention Review Conference

UNIDIR launches research on best practices for promoting gender equality in conventional arms control

March 2023

UNODA launches a new course on “Gender-Mainstreaming Small Arms Control” 

Izumi Nakamitsu keynote address at the Nikkei’s International Women’s Day Symposium

International Women’s Day: the many women contributing to a more secure and peaceful cyberspace

High Representative for Disarmament Affairs delivers remarks at side event on increasing women’s representation in cyber and tech

Vienna Conversation Series explores leveraging disarmament education towards greater diversity and inclusion in the area of science and technology

CSW67 on the theme “innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls” adopts agreed conclusions

UNODA holds workshop with #Youth4Disarmament alumni on the importance of gender equality, diversity and inclusion in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation & arms control

February 2022

Women experts discuss meaningful participation in ammunition management


December 2022

High Representative for Disarmament Affairs visits Okinawa, discusses how greater gender equality enables more secure and sustainable societies (in Japanese)

November 2022

High Representative for Disarmament Affairs co-hosts side event on the role of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the Biological Weapons Convention

Watch recording of above event here

High Representative for Disarmament Affairs calls for greater gender diversity, analysis and equality in biosecurity and disarmament

HRs Remarks at Opening of Photo Exhibit “Women Making the World Safe from Biological and Toxic Weapons 50 Years of the BWC”

First Committee side event on gender-responsive small arms control: lessons from national implementation

New Publication: Training Manual on Gender-Mainstreaming Small Arms Control

October 2022

High Representative remarks on gender at the High-level Exchange and Follow-up on Resolutions and Decisions Adopted to the General Assembly’s First Committee

Burundi officials strategize on integrating gender approaches in fight against illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons

September 2022

August 2022

VIDEO: Side Event on the Role of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the 2022 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

Join the #NPTdiversity social media campaign

High Representative for Disarmament Affairs calls for diversity, equity and inclusion in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament at side event on the margins of the NPT Review Conference

June 2022

UNRCPD concludes the in-country training programme on gender mainstreaming small arms control in Timor-Leste

High Representative for Disarmament Affairs speaks at panel on the TPNW and gender-responsive disarmament

High Representative for Disarmament Affairs joins side event to discuss integrating Women, Peace & Security into the UNSCR 1540 (2004) regime

May 2022

UNODA launches Policy on Gender & Disarmament at event co-hosted with the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN

April 2022

UNRCPD trains government officials, parliamentarians and civil society in Nepal on gender and small arms and links with the Women, Peace and Security agenda

Lao PDR holds workshop to enhance gender responsive small arms control

March 2022

Marking International Women’s Day 2022, UNRCPD and IANSA host an online seminar on gun violence and illicit small arms trafficking from a gender perspective

UNODA participates in Civil Society Briefing “Nuclear Disarmament and Disaster Risk Reduction: Women and Girls in the Lead”

Youth4Disarmament’s #Leaders4Tomorrow hold workshop on D.N.A. and Gender

High Representative delivers remarks to Conference on Disarmament to mark International Women’s Day 2022

High Representative for Disarmament Affairs’ video message on International Women’s Day 2022

January 2022

Include Women and Youth at All Levels of Arms Control, says the Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons


10 December 2021

UNODA participates in 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign

25 November 2021

ODA launches 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign

2 November 2021

First Committee side event on women’s participation in international security

1 November 2021

UNODA’s Regional Centre in Asia and the Pacific concludes webinar series on gender and small arms control in Papua New Guinea

1 November 2021

UNIDIR and UN Women hold First Committee side event on advancing the role of women in international security in the Middle East

28 October 2021

High Representative Izumi Nakamitsu delivers remarks at the European Parliament’s Committee on Security and Defence session on Gender & Disarmament

26 October 2021

UNODA and Small Arms Survey hold discussion on future directions for gender-sensitive ammunition management processes

18 October 2021

UNODA’s Regional Centre in Africa conducts workshops in Mali on mainstreaming gender in fight against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons

18 October 2021

New Publication: Gender-sensitive Ammunition Management Processes: Considerations for National Authorities

26 August 2021

High Representative delivers remarks at Conference on Disarmament Plenary Meeting on “Women’s Participation and Role in International Security”

2 August 2021

UNRCPD concludes hybrid training on gender mainstreaming small arms control with the Government of Lao PDR

29 July 2021

UNRCPD hosts webinar series on gender in small arms control for Cambodian officials

7 July 2021

UNODA concludes training series on gender and small arms control

2 July 2021

UNODA becomes signatory to Women, Peace & Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA) Compact

28 June 2021

National Experts in Cameroon Propose Practical Ways to Integrate Gender Perspectives into Policies to Combat Small Arms Proliferation

25 June 2021

HR’s video message for women in cyber policy panel during 3rd inter-regional conference on Cyber/ICT

27 May 2021

New tool to track gender-responsive small arms control in the DRC
6 May 2021

ODA and UN Women principals outline steps to reshape security and rethink military spending (op-ed)

21 April 2021

Nuclear-arms-control experts push to bring gender equality to their work

14 April 2021

UNODA & UNIDIR webinar recording “Integrating gender perspectives into the NPT review process” now available

1 April 2021

UNODA & UNIDIR to host webinar “Integrating gender perspectives into the NPT review process – towards an equal and secure future”

8 March 2021

HR addresses the National Diet of Japan on International Women’s Day

8 March 2021

HR’s keynote address for “Intergenerational Dialogue Between Women involved in Nuclear Disarmament” event (Video)

8 March 2021

Video message by High Representative on International Women’s Day

26 February 2021

Young people weigh what makes women crucial to disarmament with UNRCPD

7 January 2021

UNREC kick-starts cooperation on gender and small arms control with the Democratic Republic of Congo



18 December 2020

Publication on “Gender Dimensions of the Life-cycle Management of Ammunition” now available in French and Spanish 

8 December 2020

HR delivers opening remarks at symposium on Women, Disarmament, Non-proliferation and Arms Control in Latin America and the Caribbean
3 December 2020

High Representative discusses women in disarmament with the European Leadership Network

17 December 2020

UNODA joins global efforts for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
27 November 2020

The High Representative’s video message at the virtual meeting on ‘African Women’s Contribution to Development through Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy’ 

17 November 2020

UNREC conducts training on small arms control in support of gender equality in the Central African Republic

6 November 2020

UNODA presents concrete actions in support of gender mainstreaming policies, programmes and actions in the fight against trafficking and misuse of small arms
4 November 2020

“Women share immense stake in ending armed violence” – Latest op-ed on disarmament and the Women, Peace and Security agenda

27 October 2020

New Publication: “Making Room for Improvement. Gender Dimensions of the Life-cycle Management of Ammunition”

27 October 2020

YouthChampions4Disarmament discuss the role of gender in disarmament

9 October 2020

UNRCPD discusses gender and disarmament with students at virtual webinar

24 June 2020

HR remarks at “UN 2020: Enhancing peace, disarmament & the role of women” Virtual Event

1 May 2020

UNRCPD completes training on role of gender in small arms control

12 March 2020

Regional Centre in Asia and the Pacific concludes seminar on gun violence and illicit small arms trafficking from a gender perspective
8 March 2020

A conversation with the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs on International Women’s Day 2020 (podcast)
6 March 2020

International Women’s Day: the HR’s take on women in disarmament (video)

6 February 2020

High Rep Nakamitsu speaks to Women in International Security and Cyberspace Fellowship


Coming soon


Gender and Disarmament Training and Resources

Gender and Conventional Weapons

Gender and Weapons of Mass Destruction

Gender-Based Violence




Gender refers to the socially constructed attributes and opportunities associated with women, men, girls, and boys as well as non-binary or gender-fluid persons. Sex is the physical and biological characteristics of men and women. 

Gender Equality

Gender equality refers to the equal rights of persons regardless of their genders. It is a fundamental human right and a necessary foundation for a peaceful and sustainable world.  In most societies, gender norms and patriarchal structures result in inequalities and unequal opportunities for women and men. Gender equality therefore requires specific attention to the rights of women and girls and their empowerment, leaving no one behind, while also fully engaging men and addressing masculinities.

Gender Parity

Gender parity refers to the equitable representation of women and men in various positions, for example in multilateral disarmament meetings, in UNODA, in a working group or event. The quantitative margins can vary depending on context but should be representative of the population. Working towards gender parity is a key part of achieving gender equality.

Gender Mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming is the chosen approach of the United Nations system and the international community towards realizing gender equality. It is not a goal or objective on its own but rather a strategy or process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels.

Gender Analysis

Gender analysis is a critical examination of how differences in gender roles, opportunities and rights affect women, men, girls, and boys as well as non-binary or gender-fluid persons in certain situations or contexts. Gender is part of the broader socio-cultural context and other important criteria for analysis include age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality or race. 

Gender Data

Gender-sensitive data can be quantitative or qualitive and reflect gender and intersectional issues. A key component of gender data is to collect gender- or sex-disaggregated data that presents information separately for men and women.

Gender-based Violence

Gender-based Violence (GBV) is an umbrella term for harmful acts directed at a person based on or because of their gender and rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms. GBV is more commonly perpetrated against women and girls and sometimes the term violence against women can be used interchangeably or when looking specifically at women as survivors. Domestic violence is any pattern of behavior that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Sexual violence is any sexual act committed against the will or consent of another person and can be motivated by military objectives in conflict related setting.