Women, Peace and Security and Disarmament

Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and subsequent resolutions on women and peace and security (WPS), acknowledge the differentiated impact of armed conflict on women and that women’s participation is vital to broader objectives for international peace and security. Disarmament and arms control intersect with all four pillars of the WPS agenda on participation, protection, prevention, and relief and recovery.

In the 2021 annual open debate in the Security Council on WPS, ten Member States and groups that addressed the Council mentioned disarmament or reductions in military spending – four of them current Security Council Members. In the 2020 Open Debate, three of the 15 Council Members mentioned disarmament and arms control, compared to two in 2019 and none in 2018 and 2017 respectively.

The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs is a members of the UN standing committee on WPS.

National Action Plans

According to Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, 98 UN Member States (51 percent) have adopted a National Action Plan on WPS, and 31 current action plans (32 percent) include references to and specific actions towards disarmament.

Military expenditures

In the 2020 report on WPS to the Security Council, the UN Secretary-General (SG) identified disarmament and reduction of excessive military expenditures as one of five key goals for the next decade of WPS action. In 2021, the SG report on WPS had a thematic focus on military spending and recommends advocacy for people-centered policies with a view to encouraging greater investment in the social and human security.

The Beijing Declaration (1995) includes military spending as a key area of action to enhance social development and gender equality. The Generation Equality Compact on Women, Peace and Security (2021) invites States, academia, civil society to sign on to the compact action on military’s expenditures, as well as States to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty.


UNIDIR study Connection the Dots on WPS, arms control and disarmament (2020)

Opinion Piece by Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and H.E. Amb. Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, former Chair of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, Women around the globe share an immense stake in ending armed violence (2020)

Opinion piece by Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Executive Director of UN Women, For a safer and more resilient world, put people before runaway military spending (2021)

UNODA Occasional Paper 35 (2020) chapter on “A feminist approach for addressing excessive military spending” by Ray Acheson and Madeleine Reesm on the link between gender, militarism and unconstrained military spending.