Damsels of defense

The year 2013 it is likely to be remembered for the spread of “selfies”: pictures we take of ourselves and then share on social networks. Even the snapshot taken and tweeted by the Dutch Minister of Defense Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, in which she posed with three other European women with the title of defense minister, went viral. It is the sign of a great shift. In the past women have often led in fields traditionally dominated by men. Now Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands,  Germany and Italy have decided that the time for a women leading the Defense Ministry has come. And with it the opportunity to change perspective over security, one of the international community’s most pressing issues. How will this affect the EU and NATO’s military strategy? Will a lack of testosterone lead to a wave of passivism? If history is any indication, women at the reins of military power are as likely to use it as their male counterparts (Catherine the Great, Elizabeth I and Margaret Thatcher are just a few examples). In any case, Europe does not seem to be in a bellicose frame of mind.