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Towards a More Gender-balanced European Union CSDP

Publisher: SIPRI
SIPRI, Stockholm:
November, 2019

When European Union (EU) member states established the Civilian Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Com­pact, in November 2018, they committed to actively promoting a better representation of women at all levels in the missions. Although women’s representation has improved in the past decade, women remain under­-represented in all missions. One year into the implementation phase of the compact, the number and the share of women in missions have yet to increase.

The commitment to promote a better representation of women in missions is less con­crete and ambitious than other aspects of the compact. The Joint Action Plan of the Euro­pean External Action Service and the European Commission shifts the main responsibility for implementing it to member states, even though many  missions have become increas­ingly dependent on contracted staff. Meanwhile, it is expected that several member states will not include concrete measures to contribute more women per­sonnel to civilian CSDP  missions in their national implementation plans.

To deliver on this commit­ment, the EU should follow the example of other organizations and elaborate a gender parity strategy for civilian CSDP. This strategy should operationalize the commitment, set concrete targets and prevent efforts to promote women’s represen­tation from being deprioritized during the implementation phase of the compact.


Timo Smit is a Senior Researcher in the SIPRI Peace Operations and Conflict Management Programme.