Gender, development and nuclear weapons

This study, jointly produced by ILPI and the UN Institute for Disarmament Research, discusses the relationship between nuclear weapons, gender and sustainable development.

Nuclear weapons detonations affect women and men differently, in terms of both the biological effects of ionizing radiation and the social, economic and psychological impacts of nuclear weapons detonations. Applying a gender lens to nuclear disarmament gives insight into how nuclear disarmament debates are ‘gendred’; that is, how they are underpinned by notions of masculinity and femininity. A gender perspective contributes to diversifying the debate on nuclear weapons and to challenging established power relations.

In spite of international consensus on the importance of women’s participation in decision-making, multilateral disarmament forums continue to demonstrate a significant gender imbalance. This study presents new research on the topic, showing that men continue to be heavily over-represented, with women equally under-represented in multilateral forums concerned with security issues, including nuclear weapons. The gender imbalance seems to be even more pronounced in forums concerned with security issues and disarmament than in others. Failure to apply a gender perspective and lack of female participation may be factors contributing to the current lack of nuclear disarmament progress, and why other agreements to tackle global problems such as the Sustainable Development Goals) seem so often to be ignored or contradicted in the prevailing international policy discourse on nuclear weapons.

Access the full study here.

Borrie, J. et al. 2016. «Gender, development and nuclear weapons: Shared goals, shared concerns», International Law and Policy Institute and United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.


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