45th NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives
On 7 and 8 December 2021, approximately 132 participants from 39 NATO Member and Partner Nations gathered for the Annual Conference of the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives (NCGP). This was held in hybrid format at NATO HQ, in Brussels.
The Conference marked both the 45th anniversary of the Committee, and 60 years since the first Conference of NATO Women Senior Officers took place. Themed “Gender Perspective in NATO 2030: Reshaping from Within,” the Conference included two panel discussions around the future of the Gender Perspective at NATO: “Gender Perspective in the Future of the Alliance: The New Strategic Concept” and “Gender Perspective in the Future of the Alliance: What Can We Do Better?”
In his opening remarks, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană highlighted the history of the gender perspective at NATO from the Committee’s inception in 1976, to modern-day impacts of gender in counter-terrorism, cyber defence, and emerging technologies. He underlined NATO’s commitment to gender equality, and the continued importance of including a gender lens in NATO’s future, noting that “NATO’s vision for the future cannot, and will not be gender blind, because a strategy that leaves half of the population behind is not a strategy for success.”
During the first panel, “Gender Perspective in the Future of the Alliance: The New Strategic Concept,” the Chair of the NATO Military Committee Admiral Rob Bauer noted the new ways adversaries have been weaponizing gender, citing recent actions by Belarusian media agencies and Boko Haram as key examples. Admiral Bauer underlined the importance of “mainstreaming gender as a priority not only in capabilities, resources and technology but also in terms of personnel, training, education and baseline requirements. Understanding and implementing a gender perspective is not only primordial to NATO but also a crucial force multiplier.”
In his closing remarks, the Director General of the International Military Staff Lieutenant General Hans-Werner Wiermann emphasized NATO’s progress in including a gender perspective throughout strategic, operational and tactical levels. Highlighting NATO Mission Iraq, the Military Women’s Training Centre in Jordan, and the Women Peace and Security Action Plan, Lieutenant General Wiermann stated that “integrating Gender Perspective cannot just be about political correctness or a convenient afterthought, it must become an innate reflex for everyone and in everything.”
Concluding the Conference, Lieutenant General Wiermann noted that “NATO is committed to integrating gender perspective across everything that we do and slowly but surely we are getting there – but lasting change will not only take time but require us to all work together.”