Heather Hurlburtwrote a cover story for Arms Control Todayabout why a gender lens is crucial, not optional.
At a moment when the field of arms control and security faces existential challenges, it may seem foolish to insist that one of the sector's problems is a failure to incorporate thinking about gender. After all, achievements over a half-century in institution building and norm creation, even the most basic norms against the use of nuclear weapons, are under attack.
Yet in an important sense, the community is confronting its 21st century opposition with a 1950s mindset. The politics of the last year showed people in the United States—whether recent graduates or new members of Congress voting on budget funds and authorizations for use of military force—to be broadly unaware of core principles such as deterrence and basic facts about U.S. arsenals and the shape of global threats. At the same time, they are hearing about security through ever-more intimate and personal lenses. Identity-linked advocacy networks, from Concerned Women for America to the Movement for Black Lives to veterans and religious organizations, are increasingly shaping the way Americans receive news and understand the world.