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New Database: Gender and Disarmament

The days of endless searching for resources that explore the nexus between gender and disarmament are finally over. RCW is launching today the very first Gender and Disarmament Database.

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
29 January 2020

The days of endless searching for resources that explore the nexus between gender and disarmament are finally over. Reaching Critical Will (RCW), the disarmament programme of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, is launching today the very first Gender and Disarmament Database.

Reaching Critical Will has been leading the work on advancing gender perspectives in disarmament and arms control for years. But with the recent growth in interest from multiple organisations, research institutes, governments, and other stakeholders, there is an increase of resources available on this subject.

“We’re seeing an increased interest from a variety of actors – diplomats, activists, international organisations – into the connections between gender and disarmament. This new database is meant to facilitate on the subjects,” says Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will’s director.

Searching for Sources Made Easy

The new database allows users to explore relevant resources based on their references to distinctive gender aspects in disarmament. It hosts a wide range of resources such as reports, articles, books and book chapters, policy documents, podcasts, legislation, and UN documents.

“The resources compiled cover a range of topics, from the gendered impacts of particular weapons to feminist understandings of weapons and war,” observes Ray Acheson. “Whether you just want to browse around and discover new resources, or search for a specific content or particular topic, this database offers it all.” 

Ray Acheson hopes that “by making these articles, talks, and documents available all in one place Reaching Critical Will can help those who are interested in this work to find more information and analysis in order to advance the feminist discourse about disarmament and security.”

105 Years of Leading Work on Gender and Disarmament 

WILPF’s story began 105 years ago, when a group of women came together in The Hague to discuss solutions to the causes of violence of World War I. There was no question for the founding mothers of WILPF that gender and disarmament are closely interrelated. They knew that militarism, patriarchy, and capitalism are the roots of war and violence, and that in order to ensure permanent peace, we must include a gender perspective in all disarmament efforts.

In 1999, WILPF created Reaching Critical Will to lead the organisation’s analysis and advocacy for disarmament, the reduction of global military spending and militarism, and the investigation of gendered aspects of disarmament processes. Ever since, Reaching Critical Will has been WILPF’s leading voice for over two decades in making sure feminist perspectives are included in a broad range of disarmament and arms control topics.

To ensure the Gender and Disarmament Database is growing and up to date with the latest resources, Reaching Critical Will invites you to share with them any resources that you believe are essential to making our database diverse and complete. Please send any suggestions to disarm (a) wilpf.org.

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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani

VICE-PRESIDENT

Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo

PRESIDENT

Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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Demilitarisation

WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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