Global Resources

Why Women? Effective engagement for small arms control - Briefing papers

Publisher: International Action Network on Small Arms Women’s Network
Publication Date: Jan 2011

These briefs summarise the main findings and recommendations of the report ‘Why Women? Effective engagement for small arms control’. They outline some of the reasons why women should participate in small arms control and disarmament, which include:

  • All women are affected by armed violence both directly and indirectly. Small arms can facilitate and aggravate violence against women and girls both in peace and conflict situations, and increase the chances that domestic violence results in a fatality.
  • Women are often active in security issues both formally and informally and at various levels. However, while women’s participation at the local and national levels has had positive effects, their involvement usually happens in an informal way and women continue to be excluded from formal decision-making processes about peace and security issues.
  • Women have different roles in supporting gun cultures and the masculinities that support such cultures. If they are involved in small arms control and disarmament programmes, they are likely to bring in different perspectives and knowledge of gun culture and armed violence.
  • Armed violence has direct and indirect effects on men and women, and understanding the gendered powered dynamics that perpetuate violence can help formulate programmes, policies and projects which address armed violence and the proliferation of small arms more comprehensively.
  • As women constitute half of the world’s population, including them in small arms control and disarmament programmes may help to promote the democratisation of peace and security processes and make such programmes more effective.

However, women face a number of challenges that hinder their participation. They include:

  • Unequal positioning and exclusion from legislation and policies.
  • Marginalisation of human and gender issues in action and discourse.
  • Lack of overall education and technical training making women less able to engage.
  • Poor support for organisations working on issues of gender and arms control and on issues of masculinities reinforcing the use of violence against women.


The more comprehensive report ‘Why Women? Effective engagement for small arms control' is available at http://iansa-women.org/sites/default/files/newsviews/iansa_why_women_2011.pdf

These briefs summarise the main findings and recommendations of the report ‘Why Women? Effective engagement for small arms control’. They outline some of the reasons why women should participate in small arms control and disarmament, which include:

  • All women are affected by armed violence both directly and indirectly. Small arms can facilitate and aggravate violence against women and girls both in peace and conflict situations, and increase the chances that domestic violence results in a fatality.
  • Women are often active in security issues both formally and informally and at various levels. However, while women’s participation at the local and national levels has had positive effects, their involvement usually happens in an informal way and women continue to be excluded from formal decision-making processes about peace and security issues.
  • Women have different roles in supporting gun cultures and the masculinities that support such cultures. If they are involved in small arms control and disarmament programmes, they are likely to bring in different perspectives and knowledge of gun culture and armed violence.
  • Armed violence has direct and indirect effects on men and women, and understanding the gendered powered dynamics that perpetuate violence can help formulate programmes, policies and projects which address armed violence and the proliferation of small arms more comprehensively.
  • As women constitute half of the world’s population, including them in small arms control and disarmament programmes may help to promote the democratisation of peace and security processes and make such programmes more effective.

However, women face a number of challenges that hinder their participation. They include:

  • Unequal positioning and exclusion from legislation and policies.
  • Marginalisation of human and gender issues in action and discourse.
  • Lack of overall education and technical training making women less able to engage.
  • Poor support for organisations working on issues of gender and arms control and on issues of masculinities reinforcing the use of violence against women.

The more comprehensive report ‘Why Women? Effective engagement for small arms control' is available at http://iansa-women.org/sites/default/files/newsviews/iansa_why_women_2011.pdf

These briefs summarise the main findings and recommendations of the report ‘Why Women? Effective engagement for small arms control’. They outline some of the reasons why women should participate in small arms control and disarmament, which include:

  • All women are affected by armed violence both directly and indirectly. Small arms can facilitate and aggravate violence against women and girls both in peace and conflict situations, and increase the chances that domestic violence results in a fatality.
  • Women are often active in security issues both formally and informally and at various levels. However, while women’s participation at the local and national levels has had positive effects, their involvement usually happens in an informal way and women continue to be excluded from formal decision-making processes about peace and security issues.
  • Women have different roles in supporting gun cultures and the masculinities that support such cultures. If they are involved in small arms control and disarmament programmes, they are likely to bring in different perspectives and knowledge of gun culture and armed violence.
  • Armed violence has direct and indirect effects on men and women, and understanding the gendered powered dynamics that perpetuate violence can help formulate programmes, policies and projects which address armed violence and the proliferation of small arms more comprehensively.
  • As women constitute half of the world’s population, including them in small arms control and disarmament programmes may help to promote the democratisation of peace and security processes and make such programmes more effective.

However, women face a number of challenges that hinder their participation. They include:

  • Unequal positioning and exclusion from legislation and policies.
  • Marginalisation of human and gender issues in action and discourse.
  • Lack of overall education and technical training making women less able to engage.
  • Poor support for organisations working on issues of gender and arms control and on issues of masculinities reinforcing the use of violence against women.

The more comprehensive report ‘Why Women? Effective engagement for small arms control' is available at http://iansa-women.org/sites/default/files/newsviews/iansa_why_women_2011.pdf