Military spending: a humanitarian perspective

Excessive military expenditures pose an undeniable threat to the protection of human rights. This is particularly true for women’s human rights, as military spending is an investment, not only in the tools of war, but also in the creation of a negative masculine cultural identity, inherently linked to the use of violence as a means of conflict resolution. As a result, it undermines gender equality, facilitates gender-based violence, and fosters ideas of “protective men” and “passive women”.

Given the numerous crises facing the planet—economic, environmental, food, water, health, energy—it is imperative to shift money wasted on excessive military spending to human needs and rights. Furthermore, reallocating these resources helps create a context in which weapons and war are not always assumed to be the solution to every problem. This challenges militarism by calling on governments to stop spending disproportionate financial, technological, and human resources on militaries and demands governments invest in peace.

However, reductions in military spending and increased investment in development do not automatically trigger each other: reduced military spending must be accompanied by efforts to build or rebuild economic, social, and governing structures that foster political participation and social integration and equality, and that transfer resources effectively to the programmes and efforts that require them most.

What would you rather pay for?

  • One year of the world’s military spending


  • Over 650 years of the UN’s regular budget
  • Over 2500 years of annual expenditure on international disarmament and non-proliferation organisations*
  • Over 6300 years of the budget for UN Women

*(UNODA, IAEA, OPCW, and CTBT budgets combined)

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