Girl Security x International Security Essay Contest

Girl Security strives to increase female representation in foreign affairs positions. They have collaborated with the quarterly journal International Security to host an essay contest for female international affairs students.

They invite essays on all topics related to international relations, global and regional security, and military and diplomatic history! There is no specific “essay prompt” – Girl Security wants you to write about what interests you most. In general, essays may fall into four broad categories (although essays might address more than one category):

Policy. Analyses of contemporary security policy issues.

Theory. Essays that propose, test, refine, or apply theories of international relations and security studies to key issues.

History. Articles that offer new information on or interpretations of historical events that impact our thinking on international and regional security.

Technology. Analyses of the scientific and technological dimensions of international security issues.

More specific topics are listed at the end of this post.

The deadline to submit an essay is July 16, 2021, at midnight ET.

Girl Security will be hosting an information session for this competition in the future. The exact dates are TBD.

To reserve a spot for the future information session, click here.


  • Open to high school-aged (14-18) and undergraduate aged (18-22) or currently enrolled girls and women across the globe

  • Two 1st place winners (1 High School, 1 College)

  • Cash Prize: $600 for first prize, $200 for Runner-Up

  • Essays must be submitted in English

  • Submit your essay to

Essay Specifications

  • Length requirement: 10-15 pages, double spaced, 12-point font.

  • Must use consistent citation formatting (any citation format is acceptable so long as it is used throughout the essay). Footnotes or endnotes, so long as others’ works are properly identified.

  • This is an “international” essay competition, so references to “us” and “them” should be avoided in favor of specific references to “U.S. allies,” “the Japanese economy,” “NATO budgets,” etc.

  • Don’t forget to give your essay a title.

  • Co-authorship is allowed (no more than 3 co-authors).

For more information, click here.

Examples of specific topics may include:

  • The causes and prevention of war

  • Great power politics

  • International relations theory

  • Civil wars, revolutions, and domestic repression

  • Terrorism and insurgency

  • Climate change and international relations

  • Human rights and international law

  • The foreign and defense policies of states

  • Regional security in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America

  • Transnational social movements and protest

  • Norms and ethics in international relations

  • Gender, race, and identity in international security

  • Diplomatic and military history

  • Cybersecurity, biosecurity, and defense technology

  • The political economy of security issues

  • Nuclear proliferation and non-proliferation

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