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Examining ‘Gender-Sensitive’ Approaches to Nuclear Weapons Policy: a Study of the Non-Proliferation Treaty

In ‘Examining ‘Gender-Sensitive’ Approaches to Nuclear Weapons Policy: a Study of the Non-Proliferation Treaty‘ published in International Affairs’ Special Section: Feminist Interrogations of Global Nuclear Politics, Laura Rose Brown (Policy Fellow at BASIC and PhD candidate at the University of Leeds) and Dr Laura Considine (Associate Professor of International Politics at the University of Leeds) examine what ‘gender sensitivity’ means in the nuclear policy context.

Their article provides an overview of the movement to include gender in nuclear policymaking before conducting an analysis of the discourse on gender in a core institution of nuclear politics, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Through qualitative analysis of five years of NPT texts, they find that dominant understandings of a ‘gender sensitive approach’ centre on the inclusion of women. They further find that there is almost no mention of men and masculinity in the NPT discourse; women are constructed as a homogenous category of outsiders; and women’s inclusion is understood mainly as a means of increasing institutional efficiency. 

They suggest that the next steps in ‘gendering’ nuclear policy engage more with feminist policy analysis and the experiences of those already working within the policy space, and consider further how and if one can meaningfully link gender sensitive approaches to the practice of nuclear deterrence. The findings of this study also have significance beyond nuclear weapons, illuminating the broader dynamics and challenges of ‘gendering’ international security spaces.

Read the article here.

Image: Steve Johnson

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