RAND Women, Peace, and Security Initiative

"There are a range of shared challenges that threaten global security, none of which can be effectively managed without the full and meaningful participation of women and girls."

- 2023 U.S. Strategy and National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security

USS Constitution Conducts Training , Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Skyler Okerman/U.S. Department of Defense

U.S. Navy Sailors train high in the rigging aboard USS Constitution, the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat.

Photo by Austin Jean/U.S. Navy

Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) is a global framework that recognizes the key role women play in peace and security decisions and processes. Women's participation is not simply a matter of equity; evidence indicates that the inclusion of women across peace and security decisionmaking leads to better outcomes for societies.

RAND's Women, Peace, and Security Initiative focuses on the indispensable role of women's perspectives in addressing and solving critical issues of national and international importance.

The Challenge

To achieve the outcomes established in the WPS agenda, women must be fully integrated partners in police and military forces, diplomatic institutions, and community organizations. The incorporation of gender perspectives in peace and security operations is necessary, but often missing in the operating environment.

The WPS Initiative's research agenda is framed by three perspectives, guided by the WPS Act of 2017, which:

  1. Acknowledge the heightened violence that women and girls experience during—and after—periods of conflict, including interpersonal violence as well as broader structural barriers
  2. Recognize women's unique position in achieving and maintaining peace and security, with particular attention on the perspectives of allies, adversaries, peacebuilders, organizers, and civilian leaders
  3. Recognize the need for women's equal participation in peacemaking, conflict management, and recovery efforts

Initiative Leadership


Sponsors of work by the WPS Initiative include:

  • The United States Marine Corps (USMC)
  • U.S. Cyber Command
  • The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy

Learn More about WPS

The following are foundational documents outlining WPS.