Women: paying the price o
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This month in
NATO Review
Women: paying the price of conflict?
It is mainly men who wage war. And it is mainly women (and children) who suffer from it. These undeniable facts have led the international community to try to tackle some of the key issues leading to this situation: from fighting gender violence to promoting female role models. But, as this edition sets out, the case for more effort remains compelling.
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What more needs to be done to better integrate women in security? And how can men help? We ask some women who know the difficulties what they would change and how they think this could impact the wider world.
If you have ever doubted that women suffer most from conflict, this short video will show you some figures that may make you think again.
Women's fight for better treatment starts early. From lack of education, to gender violence through to being responsible for the next generation, this photostory sets out some of the challenges the world's women face.
We ask women how they got interested in security issues, whether they've been victims of stereotyping and what personal experiences have struck them.
Lena Olving is COO for defence and security company Saab. She has also been voted Sweden's most powerful businesswoman. What advice does she have for women who want to make it in security?
What's it like to be a young woman rising up the ranks of the security world? We asked Ioanna Zyga, who has worked at both NATO and the European Parliament about her experiences - and whether she sees it as still a male-dominated world.
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At NATO Review, we research all our topics before we cover them. And I can say that this edition, without any doubt, has been the most depressing research I have ever had to do for an edition.

Why? Because the further one looked into women's lot around the world, the more one could see that so much is still to be done.

At NATO Review, we research all our topics before we cover them. And I can say that this edition, without any doubt, has been the most depressing research I have ever had to do for an edition.

Why? Because the further one looked into women's lot around the world, the more one could see that so much is still to be done. In the comfortable west, we like to feel that huge strides have been made in integrating women into all key avenues. But we forget three key things.

The first is that we are also relatively new to this. Switzerland, for example - a bastion of tranquility and wealth - only gave its women full federal voting rights in 1971.

The second is that the advances made in developed societies affect far smaller numbers of women than the still prevalent oppression they suffer in the rest of the world.

The final - and perhaps most important - point is that conflict is not the same as war. Women suffer from conflict often regardless of whether there is war. One of the most telling answers I received in the interviews for this edition was when a respondent asked me: 'What do you mean by peace?'. Her point was that gender violence is something suffered by millions of women in ostensibly countries at peace.

True, war can lead to the numbers of abuses skyrocketing. But the abuses are often already there. And it is tackling them at all stages that is one of the main motivations of many people in the field.

It would be accurate to call this a work in progress. But to paraphrase my interviewee: what is progress?

Paul King

quotes
Charlotte Isaksson,
Senior Gender Advisor, Swedish Armed Forces, Sweden
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'If we can travel to the moon and back -
then of course we can end sexual violence.'
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