Women in International Security

About Women in International Security

WIIS is the premier global organization dedicated to advancing women's leadership and achieving gender equality in the field of international peace and security. Founded in 1987, WIIS (pronounced “wise”) is an international professional development network with members in nearly 50 countries. WIIS publishes research, conducts training, and convenes policy forums that bridge the gap between gender and security.

Core Values and Characteristics
-WIIS defines international security broadly, inclusive of a range of disciplines such as conflict resolution and human rights, but focuses on the intersection or nexus of these issues with security.
-WIIS bridges the divides among issues (traditional security and human security); generations of women; and sectors (academic, practitioner, and policymaker).
-WIIS educates and inspires women at all stages of their careers – the multigenerational aspect of its network is one of WIIS’ greatest strengths.
-WIIS builds local, national and global communities that empower women in many different countries.
WIIS encourages the active civic engagement of women and men who understand the importance of inclusive and diverse participation in peace and security.
-WIIS is non-profit and non-partisan. WIIS advocates for women’s inclusion and leadership in the peace and security fields but does not lobby on specific pieces of legislation.
-WIIS provides valuable services and resources to build a global network of women in these fields and increases the number and visibility of women across sectors and around the world.

The Importance of WIIS
Since the founding of WIIS in 1987, women have advanced to increasingly important roles in the field of international security. There are new and expanding opportunities for women’s participation globally, as women are present in greater numbers in foreign and defense affairs and now occupy important positions in governments around the world. In recent years, the international community has recognized the important contributions of women to peace and security and has made commitments to include women in peace and security decision-making at all levels. But equal representation of women is not yet a reality, especially at senior levels of policymaking.

Women comprise less than 30 percent of senior leadership positions. Entry into the profession is not necessarily translating into advancement into leadership positions in key peace and security institutions.

The lack of female representation in decision-making positions means that the international community is missing the diversity of expertise and perspectives that are desperately needed in this field. WIIS recognizes that all women do not share the same opinions about how to address the world’s security problems. But women often share common experiences and challenges as women, and they often share common, valuable approaches to leadership roles. WIIS’ research demonstrates that women in these positions of authority often share consultative, inclusive, and collaborative leadership styles. The contributions that women have made and could potentially make to international peace and security are just beginning to be recognized. WIIS is working to ensure that recognition translates into leadership opportunities for women around the world.


Undergraduate Research Assistant

January 2020 Washington, DC
“Opportunities to expand my network and pursue individual research.”

Senior Program assistant

January 2018 Washington, DC
“The independence, freedom to take initiative, exposure to a wide network of women in peace and security, and professional development access.”
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