by Lily Gardener, Reaching Critical Will of WILPF
The conventional wisdom that war and peace are of men’s domain is no longer valid. It never was true, but as the world witnesses evidence of the contribution of women to practical disarmament and arms control measures carried out at the local, national, regional, and sub-regional levels in the prevention and reduction of armed violence and armed conflict, the role of women becomes more concrete. Women will continue to play a stronger role in promoting disarmament, non-proliferation, and arms control; therefore it is only logical that an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) includes the dimension of gender.
The ATT negotiations have seen many delegates speak about the impact of the arms trade in their countries. As also noted the Gerome and Farr article, statistics show that men account for around 80-90% of homicide victims globally and that GBV disproportionately impacts women and girls. However, there are variations to this across cultures, countries, and regions. Not all victims of GBV are female; men are harassed, beaten, or killed because they fail to conform to a socially acceptable view of masculinity. GBV includes violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. GBV is more likely to occur when the perpetrator is carrying a small arm or light weapon. Yet, this information is useless unless it is applied during the development of policies that can diminish the incidence of GBV. Therefore, anything other than the inclusion of GBV, such as the term “violence against women,” is unacceptable, as it will only reinforce stereotypes of women as weak and childlike rather than recognising the strength of women as active members of communities.