Written evidence submitted by the SecurityWomen (INR0074)


SecurityWomen welcomes the opportunity to provide a written submission to the Foreign Affairs Committee regarding the FCO and the Integrated Review. There is an overlap with the recent Review on the role of the FCO (May 2020) to which SecurityWomen provided a written contribution regarding ‘Strategy in UK foreign policy’… ’the priorities for UK foreign-policy strategy’. The focus here is the same.

  1. Introduction 

Further to SecurityWomen’s previous submission, we recognise the UK Government’s advantageous position as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the prime opportunity to influence global affairs. The importance of global cooperation to tackle and maintain peace in parts of the world cannot be overstated as a way of ensuring in turn the UK’s safety and security. We would like to see gender equality as a core value and driving imperative to all of the UK’s efforts, activities and actions within the UNSC and throughout all the government departments included in the Integrated Review. The premise being that in societies where there is greater gender equality, there is less likelihood of conflict and violence, and the converse to this is also borne out by evidence[1]. It is recognised that some resistance to the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda (of which the UK is the penholder) is displayed within the UNSC, however, we wish to see the UK Government continue to stand up to any proposed erosion to women and girls’ rights.

  1. UK contribution

The UK approach to security is one that should be grounded in human rights and the elimination of conflict and violence. It is with this in mind that we make the following points and reiterate key issues made in our previous submission:

a)      Peacekeeping




b)     UK approach



c)      UK Action Points to be developed



d)     Recommendations


  1. UK to use its position at the Security Council as a global leader for WPS.
  2. The UK to broaden its approach on WPS and shift its strategic focus on PSVI.
  3. Place gender equality in the centre of the Integrated Review, and the WPS agenda as a top priority in the new FCO/DFID strategy. Become gender champions.
  4. Ensure women’s representation (at least 30%) throughout the Integrated Review process, on panels, boards and research groups, and at senior levels, not just in support roles.
  5. Greater public messaging on the importance of UK’s contribution to UN Peacekeeping.
  6. Create a mechanism for mixed patrols to ensure at least 2 women in every platoon/patrol deployed on peace operations, as a model for other countries and moving towards gender parity.
  7. Establish the role of WPS Ambassador which will provide the necessary leadership for all Whitehall departments to work domestically and internationally together to achieve the UK NAP.
  8. Fund and expand training of female military officers
  9. Work in partnership with civil society on WPS and ensure regular meetings. To provide as best practice example to other countries.
  10. Grow UK’s talent and consider strategies to improve the gender balance in UK security services and the development of future female peacekeepers.
  11. Ensure the implementation and development of the National Action Plan for WPS is fully embedded in cross-Whitehall Policy planning.


SecurityWomen is an advocacy and research-based non-profit organisation, calling for greater awareness of gender equality issues within the security sector globally. It promotes the inclusion of more women in the security sector - policing, private security, armed forces, cybersecurity and peacekeeping - which globally are overwhelmingly male dominated. The premise being that better security for all parts of society can be created through a better gender balance, and the likelihood of a less violent and conflict-ridden world.



July 2020


[1] Hudson, Bowen & Nielsen (2020) ‘The First Political Order: How Sex shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide’, New York, Columbia University Press

[2] Diplomatic leadership (FCO foreign policy priority outcome 4) FCO Single Departmental Plan 2019/20: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foreign-and-commonwealth-office-single-departmental-plan/foreign-and-commonwealth-office-single-departmental-plan-2019-20 accessed 20 April 2020

[3] UN SG’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) launched 28 March 2018

[4] UK NAP on WPS: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-national-action-plan-nap-on-women-peace-and-security-wps-2018-to-2022-report-to-parliament-december-2018

[5] UN Gender Parity Strategy for Uniformed Personnel sets targets for female police peacekeepers to be 25 percent by 2028, and female military peacekeepers to be 15 percent by 2028.

[6] UN SG’s Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping Operations, dated 16 August 2018: see point 8 ref to WPS

[7] The overall percentage of women’s participation in UN peacekeeping missions has increased from under 4 percent for military peacekeepers in 2015 to 5.3 percent in January 2020; and for female police peacekeepers, from 10 percent to 14.9 percent: https://peacekeeping.un.org/en/gender

[8] Page 3: https://peacekeeping.un.org/sites/default/files/dpo_wps_2019_digital_1.pdf accessed 4 May 2020

[9] https://peacekeeping.un.org/en/un-news/brazilian-officer-stellar-example-of-why-more-women-are-needed-un-peacekeeping accessed 7 May 2020

[10] Gender Action for Peace and Security: a civil society network

[11] George Floyd: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-52861726

[12] UK NAP, Strategic Outcome 5 is about Security and Justice.

[13] https://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/issues_development-enjeux_developpement/gender_equality-egalite_des_genres/elsie_initiative-initiative_elsie.aspx?lang=eng