- Militarism is the combination of beliefs and practices
that promotes a culture of fear and a continuum of violence. It is
sustained through institutions, investments and structures based on the
premise that the world is dangerous and armed force is the way to resolve
- Militarism is a major obstacle to healthy democracies
and the achievement of genuine human security. Since 9/11, the U.S. global
“war on terror” has led to increased military budgets, the proliferation
of weapons and arm sales, extra-judicial killings and torture, and
security laws that permit governments to spy on civilians.
- In 2009, world
military expenditure reached an estimated $1.5
trillion dollars, six percent higher than in 2008 and a 49 percent
increase since 2000. Almost half (46.5%) of the world’s military spending
is done by the United States. The second
highest is spent by China with 6.6 percent, France
with 4.2% and the U.K. with 3.8 percent of the world’s total.
- If governments set aside ¼ of the $1.5 trillion in
military spending, they could feed, clothe, educate and provide healthcare
for the entire world’s population. Although the UN was established to
preserve peace through international cooperation and collective security,
the UN’s entire budget is only
1.8 percent of the world’s military expenditures.
- In 2009, the U.S.
spent $712 billion, or 44.4 percent, on defense. The
lion’s share isn’t spent on protecting the American
people but in fact on U.S. military activities
throughout the world, including the estimated 1,000 U.S. military
bases. Here’s a breakdown of US budget priorities:
Militarism’s Impact on Women
War and militarism disproportionately impact women and children. Whether
forced to migrate due to conflict or targeted for sexual violence as a weapon
of war, women and children bear the greatest costs. Here are some facts:
- Of the 50
million uprooted people around the world, women and
children comprise 80
percent of the world’s displaced persons by war and
- Civilians account for 80
percent of casualties of small arms.
- A 2001 study found that nations with greater gender
equality were less likely to use violence in times of international
Rape as a Weapon of
Impact on Women’s
- In approximately 80 countries around the world, women
are daily threatened by landmines, as women are the
majority of those who gather food, water and firewood.
- According to our grantee partner Eco Center, in Eastern
Kazakhstan where the Soviet Union tested the equivalent of 20,000
Hiroshima bombs, 1.5 million people have been exposed to nuclear poisoning
and their entire food system contaminated. Cancer rates there are five
times higher than the national average.
- In a study of the impact of chemical
warfare on women, researchers found that Vietnamese
women who were exposed, or whose husbands were exposed, to toxic herbicide
dioxin ‘Agent Orange’ experienced high rates of miscarriages and
congenital birth defects. Two-thirds of their children had congenital
defects or developed disabilities in their first year of life.
Impact on Children
- War is
the primary factor in the creation of child refugees.
- In the past decade, conflicts and wars have killed two million
6 million, and made 12 million children homeless.
- More than 300,000 boys and girls are “child soldiers.”
Many of the girls are often forced into sexual slavery.
- In Nepal, when Maoists forces last February 2010
discharged 3,000 minors from their People's Liberation Army, 1,000 were girls.
Since 1987, the Global Fund for Women has awarded more than $31 million
to nearly 2,000 women’s groups in 141 countries working on building peace and ending
gender-based violence. The Global Fund for Women has initiated the Women
Dismantling Militarism Initiative. We aim to raise $3.5 million over the next
three years to capture the best practices women's groups are using to confront
militarism and continue supporting women-led initiatives to end violence in
their communities and chart innovative models of building peace.