Past eventPast eventInvitation OnlyResearch Event

Gender Perspectives in the Armed Forces

Chatham House, London

Overview

Women remain significantly under-represented in the UK armed forces (10.2%). Arguments for improved gender balance often consider this issue primarily as a matter of fairness or of compliance with wider social or legal norms rather than military effectiveness. This tends to support the arguments of those opposed to increased diversity who state that gender balance and effectiveness are alternatives and that one can only be achieved at the expense of the other.

Less attention has been paid to the operational benefits that may be derived from having more gender-balanced armed forces. Operational arguments in favour of permitting women to serve in all roles within the armed forces generally emphasize the positive benefits this will have on recruitment figures, and its potential to build a more diverse and broadly-based military culture. However, increased gender diversity could also  benefit Western military campaigns by facilitating engagement with all parts of the societies where Western forces operate, as well as a more gender-balanced approach to political and military decision-making. Greater diversity is also necessary in order to make progress towards meeting the UK’s commitments under UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325. 

At this event, Chatham House and the Joint Arms Control Implementation Group will bring together a mixture of practitioners and policymakers to discuss the operational benefits of better gender balance in the armed forces.

Attendance at this event is by invitation only.