Against gender discrimination in global policymaking

Against gender discrimination in global policymaking on peace and security: boycotting participation in all-male panels

We believe that the practice of selecting only men to speak on panels in global policymaking forums is unjust. It excludes the voices of women and other gender identities from such events, running counter to UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which commits to inclusion of women in discussions on peace and security. Global policymaking efforts on peace and security – including disarmament, arms control and the protection of civilians – must include people of a diversity of gender identities.

At the May 2014 meeting of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) meeting at the United Nations, 17 experts were invited to speak at the expert panels during the official plenary on autonomous weapons, filling 18 slots. None were women. The organisers suggested that there were no suitable women to fill any of the slots. This is of course preposterous. The panels at the NGO side events held during the lunch breaks at the CCW meeting included qualified and experienced women and men. For example, Sarah Knuckey of the NYU School of Law Global Justice Clinic has compiled a list of women actively writing or speaking on the issue of autonomous weapons.

In response to the all-male expert selection at the CCW in 2014, women involved in the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots gathered to discuss ways to advance the participation and visibility of women in meetings on disarmament, peace and security. One suggestion from this group was that men should refuse to participate in all-male panels at meetings within this field.

As part of this effort, Article 36 is compiling a list of people working in the field of peace and security – particularly disarmament, arms control and the protection of civilians – who benefit from their male gender and have committed not to speak on panels that include only men. Organisational affiliation is included for identification purposes only and does not necessarily indicate organisational policies.

When invited to speak, men should ask whether one or more women will be speaking on the panel and indicate that they will only participate if women are included. Men should also send names of women working in the sector to the panel organisers, including the list mentioned above.

We invite all policymakers, advocates, activists and campaigners active in global policymaking on peace and security who identify as men to join this effort by sending an email to with your name, primary affiliation and country.

This initiative seeks to stand alongside and complement other policies aimed at reducing gender discrimination – and all types of discrimination – in global policymaking and more broadly.