Should NATO’s New Strategic Concept discuss the role of women?

Chairwoman of the expert group and Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at NATO headquarters, May 17, 2010.

From Katrin Bennhold, the New York Times:  When NATO unveils its new doctrine later this month, it will include a revamped nuclear policy, a section on cyberwar and fresh thinking on how to engage Russia.

But will it follow a little-noticed recommendation (from an expert group led by Madeleine Albright, a former U.S. secretary of state) to give women greater say in matters of war and peace? …

[Excerpt from the NATO Experts ReportNATO should work with the UN to respond positively to Security Council Resolution 1325, concerning the role of women in security and peace.]

“Because women are often a principal victim of conflict, the women’s perspective can be vital in seeking to prevent or to mitigate the damage caused by conflict. That assertion should not be controversial; it is simply common sense,” Ms. Albright said in an e-mail. …

Ten years after the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1325, formally calling on governments to get more women involved in waging war and peace, there has been some progress. Female “blue helmettes” patrol in Liberia. Female marines, trained in Pashto language and customs, are trying to engage Afghan women. NATO “gender advisers” accompany allied troops in Afghanistan. The European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has floated plans for female quotas in the bloc’s nascent diplomatic service. …

“I firmly believe that women can play a very important role in the prevention of conflicts and in peace building,” the NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said last week in an interview with The New York Times, insisting that the alliance was implementing Resolution 1325.

However, on Mr. Rasmussen’s watch, the share of women on NATO’s civilian staff has stalled at 29 percent. Only 3 of the 19 most senior posts are held by women, and only one of them holds the title of (acting) assistant secretary general — Stefanie Babst, who in Berlin lamented the alliance’s male “monoculture. …”

Enough of a strategic priority for NATO to include in its new doctrine?

Last week, Mr. Rasmussen declined to answer.  (photo: Getty)

Image: Madeleine Albright, Getty