Women who join the armed forces are faced with an environment
designed by and for men. Women are still very much in the minority
and face many forms of discrimination. Mind-sets rooted in a purely
male approach to the armed forces, rigid career paths and lack of
access to certain posts are all hindrances to military women’s professional
At the same time, gender-based harassment and assaults against
women are frequent within the armed forces, and the existing internal
culture creates a favourable environment for such abuse.
It is vital to step up efforts to prevent and combat harassment
and violence against women in the armed forces. They should adopt
and strictly apply a policy of zero tolerance vis-à-vis gender-based
violence and establish independent mechanisms for dealing with such
It is also essential to take measures to promote the recruitment
of women to the armed forces, open all positions to them, develop
flexible career paths and systematically take the gender dimension
into account in all operations carried out by the armed forces.