Bringing Women to the Front of NATO’s Critical Work for International Security

Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller, the highest-ranking civilian woman in NATO’s history and a steadfast champion for gender equality in the alliance, was honored in September with Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security’s 2018 International Trailblazer Award.

“Integrating gender perspectives into the work of NATO and the security sector more broadly is an important tool to enhance operational effectiveness,” Ambassador Melanne Verveer, director of Georgetown’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security, said when presenting the award with Shéhérazade Semsar-de Boisséson, a member of Georgetown University’s board of directors. “Today we know that is an evidence based case.”

The award, presented this year in Brussels, is bestowed annually to leaders who recognize the important role of women in creating a more peaceful and secure world. The 2017 International Trailblazer Award was presented in London to three women negotiators and peace-builders from Ukraine, Northern Ireland and Myanmar: Iryna Gerashchenko, Monica McWilliams and May Sabe Phyu.

Under Gottemoeller’s leadership, NATO has redoubled efforts to integrate women’s perspectives and participation in the work of the security organization—deploying Gender Advisors in countries such as Afghanistan and Kosovo, establishing a panel of civil society and women’s organizations to inform the alliance and developing an action plan to advance the women, peace and security agenda.

“NATO has been the most successful military alliance throughout history, but attention to the role of women in security has not always been at the top of NATO’s priority list,” Gottemoeller said when accepting the award. “We know that we at NATO need to do a better job because stability, security and conflict resolution only come about when women are fully engaged and able to work together with their governments and with us to ensure that problems get solved down to the level of the village and the local government.”



Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace & Security seeks to promote a more stable, peaceful and just world by focusing on the important role women play in preventing conflict and building peace, growing economies and addressing global threats like climate change and violent extremism. GIWPS engages in rigorous research, hosts global convenings, advances strategic partnerships and nurtures the next generation of leaders.