Achieving gender equality requires examining root causes of inequality and finding ways to overcome them. One cause of inequality is militarism. Excessive global military spending feeds into a vicious cycle of societal instability, creating an unsuitable environment to pursue gender equality. We get what we pay for. An overtly strong military presence creates insecurity. Thus demilitarisation and disarmament are essential components for achieving gender equality.
To address this situation, legislation needs to be changed, as well as social attitudes and norms. For this, there needs to be serious political and financial commitment. While vast sums are spent on militaries, weapons, and waging war, funding gaps still remain in crucial areas such as women's economic empowerment, family planning, Women, Peace and Security, and women's participation and leadership. In 2013 the world's total military expenditure was estimated to be 1.747 trillion USD. It is difficult to put an exact number on the cost of achieving gender equality, as many different aspects need to be factored in.
Some conservative estimates assume that funding gender equality, as set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), would cost only a small fraction of the world's military spending.