pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

Issues & Insights Vol. 23, WP1 – Why Gender Balance Matters for Equity and Peace in the Indo-Pacific

Written By

  • Maryruth Belsey Priebe Director for WPS Programs & Senior Fellow


Why Gender Balance Matters for Equity and Peace in the Indo-Pacific


Who shows up at events and conferences matters. Public and closed-door events are where successes and failures are analyzed; where conceptions about security, what it means, and how we can achieve it bump up against one another; and where problems are solved in novel ways. The greater the diversity of perspectives, the more powerful the outcomes. But within the security sector, predominantly all-male panels—or “manels”—suggest a lack of gender diversity, resulting in the exclusion of women, people of non-binary identities, or both. Manels represent a more serious lack of gender inclusion at leadership levels, making it difficult for women to gain recognition through promotion to senior decision-making positions. The following is a discussion of Pacific Forum’s work to study more than nine years of programming with a goal of understanding historical trends in order to implement and measure policies to increase the number of women attending and speaking at Pacific Forum events. The analysis identified room for improvement, and marks a jumping-off point for Pacific Forum’s work on mainstreaming gender within institutional programming.

Click here to download the full paper.

About the Author

Maryruth Belsey Priebe is the Director for Women, Peace & Security (WPS) Programs and a Senior Fellow at Pacific Forum International, is the author of numerous articles on gender and sustainability, and holds a Harvard International Relations graduate degree (2023) for which her thesis, “Gender All the Way Down: Proposing a Feminist Framework for Analyzing Gendered Climate Security Risks” was nominated for the Deans Price for Outstanding ALM Thesis. Using social science, feminist foreign policy perspectives/analyses/theories, and data analysis, her research focuses on the nexus of gender, climate change, and peace and security in the Asia-Pacific. Maryruth’s circular food economy policy work has been selected for inclusion in the OpenIDEO Food Systems Game Changers Lab, and she has held several research and fellowship positions focused on women’s leadership. She is also a Teaching Fellow at Harvard Extension School, a member of the Research Network on Women, Peace & Security in Canada, and is a volunteer for multiple gender-climate causes. Maryruth tweets @greenwriting.