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The correlation between gender equality and military spending is the focus of the UN Secretary-General’s report following the open debate on women, peace and security on 26th of October. The report also highlights the increased inequality due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report cites a new study which has found that higher levels of military spending are often linked with lower standard of women’s gender equality. This is particularly seen in relation to women making their own decisions and when influencing and participating in decision-making processes both during and after a conflict.

Regarding the promotion of gender equality and women’s meaningful participation in peace processes, the Secretary-General writes: “Gender equality is a question of power. But power will not redistribute itself equally in a male-dominated world.” The way forward must include an analysis of women, peace and security with a focus on actual inclusion, rather than a box-ticking exercise.

The report further describes how historical discrimination which has disadvantaged women in the political and public sphere has worsened during the pandemic. There has been an increase in abuse, harassment, and threats against politically active women both online and in public. To achieve gender equality, a reduction in violence against women in politics is crucial.

In conclusion, the Secretary-General writes that increasing the number of women in decision-making positions is a proven way to invest more in human security and reverse the trend of increased global military spending. The report concludes with a call that we must shift power structures towards gender equality and justice if we are to have any hope of reversing the climate crisis, reducing social inequalities, and achieving lasting peace in conflict areas.

Read the full report HERE.