WILPF Launches Toolkit: Weapons, War and Women in the MENA Region 

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is launching a toolkit on ‘Weapons, War and Women in the MENA Region’. The toolkit aims to expose the flow of arms into conflicts in the MENA region and the disproportionate effects of certain weapons on women. This toolkit provides non-governmental organisations with the resources to integrate gender perspective into tracking arms transfer and the impact of the latter on civilians.

“The impact of the use of arms on women continues to be noticably absent from the discussion on conflict. These arms have been produced and exported by profiteering states and suppliers who need to be held accountable for the suffering and devastation resulting from them. This toolkit aims to bring this element into the discussion and support our partners with credible resources on where these arms come from, how they impact the lives of women and what can be done about them”, says Laila Alodaat, WILPF Crisis Response Programme Manager.

Why create this toolkit?

The excessive flow of weapons into Middle East and North African region have been fueling and exacerbating the deadly conflicts in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. The use of these weapons has led to the destruction of essential infrastructures. Women often suffer disproportionately from the use of explosive weapons in populated area, as well as the use of smaller arms and guns, particularly when the latter are brought home and aggravate domestic violence.

The transfers of arms into the MENA region and their disproportionate effects on women are rarely discussed and examined by the media. WILPF believes that the media plays an extremely important role in exposing issues such as these arms transfers. Not only is it crucial to uncover these transfers and those benefitting from them but it is also important to emphasise the disproportionate effects the transfers of arms have on women. Regrettably, these effects on women are not well-known or acknowledged.

The media plays a great role in revealing the consequences of actions taken by governments and armed actors. WILPF believes in cooperating with media outlets and platforms to cover and raise awareness about this issue and the gendered dimension as there is a lack of thereof.

What is its purpose?

The toolkit, unlike many other resources, emphasises the gendered dimension of arms transfer and highlights how arms transfers to armed groups and governments in the region can be linked to gender-based violence and inflict disproportionate effects on women.

This toolkit is aimed at:

  • Raising overall awareness about the arms transfers into the MENA region and more importantly the disproportionate impact they have on women
  • Helping WILPF partners to integrate gender perspectives into arms transfers and militarization by providing the resources in the local language (Arabic)
  • Highlighting the relationships between gender, wars and arms transfers, particularly how different types of weapons impact women disproportionately during conflict
  • Providing the foundation for local and international activists and NGOs to conduct advocacy around the use and transfer of arms in the MENA region and raise awareness around the rarely discussed gendered impacts of militarisation

What is in the toolkit?

The toolkit is composed of the following:

  • Webinar in Arabic that seeks to examine and discuss arms transfers to governments and armed actors in the MENA region, their connection to bombings of populated areas as well as to gender-based violence, and highlight the challenges of tracking these transfers and the international efforts to stop them.
  • Infographic in Arabic and English that aims to expose arms transfers to Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, and shed light on their devastating effects in terms of casualties, humanitarian need, sexual and gender-based violence, and displacement.
  • Video in Arabic with English subtitles that serves as informative tool to highlight the gendered impacts of arms transfers.

WILPF monitors and analyses the impact of international arms trade that fuels conflict in the MENA region on civilian population, particularly women and girls. We track the origin of the flow of weapons, the individuals and groups using these weapons, the casualties caused by the arms and the way they change the lives of women and girls. WILPF advocates to stop the transfer of arms on the national and international levels and expose those profiteering from violence in the MENA.

Download the press release: WILPF Launches Toolkit: Weapons, War and Women in the MENA Region

For more information please contact: Sarah Boukhary, WILPF Crisis Response Programme Associate, tel: +41 22 919 70 80 / email: sboukhary@wilpf.ch