Gender and disarmament linkages are not immediately apparent. Nor has there been much specific research on the gender perspectives of disarmament. This packet, the product of close collaboration between the Office for Disarmament Affairs and the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, is a first attempt at making these important connections. It represents a different angle on the traditionally complex and politically sensitive fields of security, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control. The issues of disarmament remain the same; looking at their gender dimensions casts them in a new light and can suggest effective and sustainable solutions.
Gender mainstreaming was established as a global strategy for promoting gender equality in the Platform for Action at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Although there are clear mandates on the need to incorporate gender perspectives into disarmament activities, these have not yet been translated into practice. It is important that the United Nations provide leadership in bringing relevant gender perspectives to the centre of attention in disarmament affairs.
Gender mainstreaming is defined by ECOSOC Agreed Conclusions 1997/2 as “…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.”
It is hoped that this packet provides impetus for increased gender mainstreaming on disarmament questions of vital and urgent interest to everyone.