Since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 (SCR 1325) in October 2000, the international community has seen the emergence of a normative framework on women, peace and security. Despite international recognition of women’s multiple roles in armed conflict and its aftermath, the United Nations and its Member States have been criticized for failing to implement SCR 1325. National Action Plans (NAPs) have been adopted as one mechanism to strengthen the operationalization of SCR 1325. The early development of NAPs was driven by Northern European States. Denmark first adopted an NAP in 2005, followed shortly after by the United Kingdom in 2006. States emerging from protracted armed conflict have also adopted national level initiatives, though the development of NAPS in Asia, a region which has been marred by armed insurgency movements and territorial disputes, has lagged behind. To date, only five Asian States have adopted NAPs, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Japan, Nepal and the Republic of Korea. This article analyses the development of NAPs, considering experiences in both ‘donor’ and ‘conflict’ states, to consider whether NAPs provide the necessary catalyst to operationalize soft law instruments and strengthen norms on women, peace and security, including SCR 1325’s broader objectives of women’s empowerment and access to decision-making in peace and security processes.