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Our Impact

Expanding our Global Network

WIIS network of over 15,000 members in U.S. national chapters and international affiliates in over 50 countries–with members making a lasting impact in their own professional communities.

“When WIIS started, I had no idea that its reach would grow around the world. Now a new generation of women reaps the benefits from being part of the WIIS global family.”

-Rose Gottemoeller, Former Deputy Secretary-General of NATO

In its first 35 years, WIIS established itself as a global player, delivering on its mission to advance gender equality and leadership opportunities for women in the international peace and security sector. We continue to make an impact as we extend our global reach, support women’s leadership, and dedicate our research and activities to tackling today’s complex security challenges and closing the gender gap.


The first Women’s Leadership organization in international security, WIIS celebrated its 35-year anniversary in 2022.


The WIIS global network has risen to over 15,000  supporters worldwide.


WIIS’ global expert peace and security supporters can be found on 6 continents.


WIIS chapters and affiliates are located in 50 countries, enhancing our ability to close the global gender gap.

Advancing Women’s Leadership

WIIS members have been named to top-ranking positions in government and security institutions.

“The beginning of my mandate truly brings me full circle. Almost ten years ago, I joined NATO as an advisor on Women, Peace & Security, then transitioned to civil society to advocate for women’s participation in mediation and peacebuilding. In 2016, I founded Women in International Security (WIIS) Italy, a global network dedicated to promoting women’s leadership and professional development in the field of international peace and security…I am determined to combine my knowledge and passion for gender equality with my commitment to the security of the Alliance.”

-Irene Fellin, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace & Security

Developing the Next Generation

WIIS champions the next generation of leaders in its Next Generation Scholars Program. Since 2017, WIIS has hosted three successful gender and international security cohorts.

“Programs like WIIS’ Next Generation Symposium make me hopeful about the future. Creating a space that allows us to think about the gender and international security nexus is essential, and I feel very fortunate to be part of this organization and cohort.”

-Tahina Montoya, NGS Alum, appointed to the Biden Administration as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower & Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense

Closing the Gender Data Gap

WIIS provides its expertise and training to security organizations and U.S. partner nations through the implementation of its gender assessment tool that documents progress in integrating women into security sector forces.

At the request of the U.S. Southern Command, WIIS applied its unique gender assessment tool to conduct qualitative and quantitative research in Latin America to examine progress in gender integration in military and national police forces. The project helps close the pervasive gender data gap in the international security sector. Further, the training WIIS provides to Latin American officers and officials includes reviewing the data for their respective countries and utilizes the tool to establish their own data collecting, monitoring, and evaluation process. Read more here.

Bridging Research to Action

WIIS’ role as a bridge linking evidence-based research to policy and practice and has given voice to talented scholars, policymakers, and practitioners who have made an impact in their respective fields.

“Through WIIS, I have been able to translate scholarly research into policy and programmatic work aligned to my current job experience.”

Dr. Pearl Karuhanga Atuhaire, UN Women, Liberia

A Support Network Then, and Now

Dr. Catherine Kelleher founded WIIS over 35 years ago, as a way to help women overcome barriers and challenges and create a more diverse and inclusive community of peace and security professionals. Women like former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was a long-term member, returned year after year to mentor the younger generations. And the cycle continues today.

“WIIS opened doors to friendships, mentors, confidence, and skills that continue to buoy and connect me.”

– Laura Holgate, U.S. Ambassador to the UN International Organizations in Vienna and to the International Atomic Energy Agency