In a milestone event underscoring the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons’ unwavering commitment to peace, security, and equality, Executive Secretary Mr. Samuel Williams Yeboah in a speech, emphasised the need for a gender-sensitive approach to holistically tackle the proliferation of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). The International Women’s Day celebrations marked the official launch of the Gender Desk, accompanied by a gender mainstreaming session for NACSA staff.

Mr Samuel Williams Yeboah highlighted the Commission’s dedication to addressing the debilitating impacts of small arms, particularly on women and girls. He stated that the recognition of the pervasive and indiscriminate nature of small arms paves the way for dismantling gender stereotypes surrounding weapons, and helps to address the root causes of gender-based violence. This gender-sensitive approach fosters gender inclusivity and also aligns with global agendas on sustainable development, gender equality, and small arms control.

He further emphasized the Commission’s dedication to mitigating the severe impacts of small arms, particularly on women and girls. Acknowledging the indiscriminate nature of these weapons, he stressed the importance of dismantling gender stereotypes associated with them, addressing the root causes of gender-based violence. This approach not only fosters inclusivity but aligns seamlessly with global agendas on sustainable development, gender equality, and small arms control.

Highlighting normative frameworks such as the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and UN Security Council Resolution 1325, Mr. Yeboah underscored the significance of considering the diverse needs of women and men in disarmament processes. He affirmed that the Gender Desk is not symbolic but a concrete commitment to gender equality as an essential foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world. The Desk aims to identify patterns in the misuse and effects of small arms on different genders, advocating, building capacity, and partnering to ensure women’s meaningful participation in small arms control.

Insights from security and gender experts, including Executive Director for Foundation for Security Development in Africa (FOSDA) Theodora Anti, enriched the gender mainstreaming session, by clarifying concepts of gender and equity, and dispelling common misconceptions. Chief Superintendent Lydia Osei Agyapong, the Administrator at the One-Stop Centre at DOVVSU, brought attention to the role of weapons in fuelling gender-based violence within domestic settings. She shared valuable resources aimed at supporting survivors and addressing the multifaceted challenges associated with gender-based violence. First female Air Marshaller and Gender Activist Felicia Attipoe also shared her experience breaking barriers in the male-dominated industry and urged women to change the narrative by taking up decision-making roles.

Hajia Hamdatu Ibrahim Hussain, Executive Director for Centre Rural and Urban Women in Peace, Security and Development emphasized the need to amplify rural women’s voices and include women in peacebuilding and negotiating processes. All resource persons present united in calling for men to join women’s voices in the promotion of gender equality, emphasizing that it involves everyone and encouraging male participation in the Gender Desk.

The gender mainstreaming session empowered NACSA staff to advocate for peace and security through a gendered lens. Practical knowledge gained in gender mainstreaming and insights into women’s experiences in peace and security were invaluable for addressing weapons proliferation effectively. Staff members possess heightened awareness of the intersection between gender dynamics and small arms control, essential for planning and implementing gender-responsive initiatives, contributing significantly to a peaceful and secure Ghana.

The National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons embarked on a transformative journey, leveraging knowledge and inclusivity as potent tools to combat illicit small arms proliferation. The launch of the Gender Desk and gender mainstreaming training program mark a pivotal moment in the Commission’s commitment to gender equality, paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable future.

Source: National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons