Small arms are the true weapons of mass destruction of our times. Every year, they kill more than half a million people worldwide – many of whom are women. The availability of weapons also magnifies structural and sexual violence and entrenches existing inequalities.
At the same time, studies show that peace negotiations result in better outcomes when women participate. The network seeks to build on these findings and, with the assistance of the German Government, to involve women more in small arms control.
Exchange of experience at the Berlin conference
Together with the African Union, Ghana, Namibia and the development organisation SDG 16 Pathfinders, Germany has established a network for gender equality in small arms control. This network is working to ensure that women participate effectively in political decisions on small arms control at all levels. The Gender Equality Network for Small Arms Control is meeting today at the German Foreign Office in Berlin for its first high‑level conference, which brings together experts of both genders from around the world. The focus is on three regions that are particularly plagued by small arms, namely the Western Balkans, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. Although the problems faced by these regions differ in their nature, the participants will be able to learn from each other’s experiences.
The Women, Peace and Security agenda
The establishment of this network is part of Germany’s comprehensive agenda on women, peace and security. The German Government promotes greater participation by women in stabilisation and peacekeeping, and has made this a priority of Germany’s UN Security Council membership in 2019 and 2020.
The agenda calls for the more active inclusion of women in security and peace policy decision‑making and implementation, equal representation, and more effective, gender sensitive measures to protect people from sexual violence.
Susanne Baumann, German Government Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control:
As more than half of the population women have indeed the right to control arms as much as their male counterparts.