Transforming Thinking, Advancing Policy

Ploughshares Fund aims to create more just, inclusive and peace-oriented policies by increasing women's leadership and amplifying their role and voices in nuclear security

Women have led, and are leading, the fight to create a safer, saner and more egalitarian future in many areas of civic life, and nuclear security is no different. Ploughshares Fund aims to increase women's leadership and to amplify the role and voices of women working to reduce nuclear threats. That is why we are proud to announce the launch of the Women’s Initiative, an initiative to build a more inclusive national security and foreign policy through support of a wider, more diverse range of perspectives and ideas. We hope that through the Women's Initiative, we, along with our grantees and the broader community of those working on nuclear security, will be empowered in our shared mission to reduce and eliminate nuclear threats.

As our new director of programs, Michelle Dover says, "I hope that through our grantmaking we can continue Sally Lilienthal's efforts to bring various stakeholders to the table, and to create better nuclear policies through better inclusion of diverse perspectives and ideas." Our founder, Sally Lilienthal was a trailblazer in this endeavor, and we hope to draw on her legacy as we apply this lens to our grantmaking.

How will we do it? Through the Women's Initiative, we will pay specific attention to the balance and diversity of thought and gender in our portfolios, program strategies, and evaluations, making us a more effective organization. To that end we will:

  • Increase the number and amounts of Ploughshares Fund grants to women-led organizations and projects.
  • Empower organizations to consider diversity, gender equity and inclusivity as ways to strengthen their work.
  • Increase the availability and use of inclusive security analyses in the nuclear security field.
  • Seek project ideas from outside traditional sources and locations, and use the expertise of our network to bring the best ideas into action.
  • Build a new network of feminist scholars, activists, experts, and influencers with the aim of elevating their already impactful leadership both inside and outside the beltway.
  • Help our existing network develop a shared understanding of an inclusive national security and foreign policy agenda as it relates to nuclear weapons policy.

A recent success: Inkstick Media's weekly podcast with Stimson Center fellow Laicie Heeley, Things That Go Boom, brings together a range of views of what security means and offers a platform for voices not always heard in these debates. It has recently been picked up by PRI and you can hear it on NPR, and as well as by downloading the podcast. It moves nuclear weapons from the abstract to the real, talks about what actually keeps us safe, and illustrates how national security impacts our lives.

Heeley offers a window into our belief that national security policies need to integrate and address the full range of human experience, such as those offered by inclusive security perspectives. We believe avoiding nuclear war, and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons, will require no less.

Learn more about our work bringing inclusive security perspectives to the problem of nuclear weapons. Sign up today to get informed. Signing up is the best way to begin to contribute to peace and security around the most dangerous weapons ever devised, until they are eventually eliminated.


Ploughshares Fund aims to create more just, inclusive and peace-oriented policies.

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Photo: Group shot from Pocantico, May 2017