16 June 2010

Gender and the PoA: including all voices


Ms. Agnés Marcaillou, the Chief of the Regional Disarmament Branch of the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs chaired the NGO presentation, Gender and the PoA: including all voices. The event was jointly coordinated by the Regional Disarmament Branch, Office of Disarmament Affairs, The Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN, and the International Action Network on Small Arms’ Women's Network. Ms. Marcaillou introduced the event by clarifying that our discussion of gender emphasizes women simply because there is a lack of deliberation in this area. However, violence between men was incorporated in the dialogue about gender as it relates to gun violence. Ms. Marcaillou reiterated that careful consideration of women is now being given attention precisely because it has previously been neglected. She defined gender mainstreaming as prescribed by the Report of the Economic and Social Council for 1997,

Mainstreaming a gender perspective is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women's as well as men's concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality.

The panel was comprised of three women sharing their experiences and expertise from Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean. As Ms. Marcaillou summarized, the presentations clearly illustrated a variety of aspects of how small arms affect women. Ms. Rebecca Gerome of the Advocacy Project, showed her documentary ‘Colombia: Living in fear: The impact of small arms on girls’ and presented on Colombian women afflicted by armed conflict, displacement and the direct relationship between machismo and gun ownership, including armed domestic violence. Ms. Glynis Alonzo-Beaton of the YWCA in Guyana, approached the issue of armed violence as a hindrance on development. Ms. Bibiane Aningina Tshefu of Women as Partners for Peace in Africa, presented the stark reality of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is infinitely devastated by small arms as women are being raped at gunpoint at a shockingly high rate.

Among the numerous comments and questions following the panelists was an NGO representative from Jamaica, who shared with the group that his organization, the Kingston and St Andrews Action Forum, had begun a new project which encourages men to support feminism and openly acknowledge gender issues. Another NGO representative from Jamaica asked women (because they are at the forefront of advocating women’s security and equality) about how to create dialogue and literature to sensitize men to gender issues. An NGO representative from the Gambia expressed the importance of introducing a culture of non-violence for those who were raised in a home where violence was used to resolve everyday issues.

“It (gender mainstreaming the PoA) is not a matter of feminism, it is a matter of business and efficiency,” stated Ms. Marcaillou. Gender and the PoA: including all voices was the official launch of The guidelines for gender mainstreaming for the effective implementation of the UN programme of action to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects, which is meant to be a user friendly resource for practitioners. Ms. Marcaillou welcomed people’s comments and contributions in order to refine the document for the next Biennial Meeting of States in 2012.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice summary of current UN events and personalities involved with small arms and gender issues. Did the discussion include the 'defensive' necessity of small arms in some situations, or just problems with the 'offensive' use of light weapons? Maybe we need to encourage men to use their natural fierce nature in the protection of family and life, while guiding them away from unnecesary violence.