Panel  to launch the new publication: 
Gender Perspectives on Disarmament 
14 March 2001, United Nations

GENDER PERSPECTIVES ON DISARMAMENT

by
Ma. Angélica Arce de Jeannet 
Minister 
Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations

Ms. Angela King Special Adviser on 
Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women,

Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala 
Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs,

Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, allow me to express my gratitude for the invitation to participate in this round table on gender perspectives on disarmament. As we have witnessed in the last years there is an increasing awareness among Member States to promote and support a gender perspective in the activities carried out by the United Nations, in accordance with the Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

Under-Secretary-General Dhanapala has already pointed out some relevant aspects of women participation in disarmament. I would like to add some specific comments. Perhaps the most evident necessity to ensure more equal representation of women in all bodies on disarmament is the priority attached by all Member States to a general and complete disarmament, that means to achieve a world with a lowest amount of weapons, including the abolition of nuclear arsenals. To achieve this aim we need the participation of all, including women.

I must say that women have been quite active. From national to international campaigns to abolish the nuclear weapons, banning the landmines and curbing the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons women have been key participants in the civil society and non-governmental organisations supporting further progress in these areas.

The preservation of the family unit as well as an appropriate environment for living have demonstrated that women support initiatives to reduce dangers that could jeopardize them. The success of the international campaign to ban landmines is the best example of women involvement. But there are still many activities requiring a gender perspective on weapons of mass destruction, peace and disarmament, small arms and light weapons, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration as well as on disarmament and development.

Member States should support strategies for making women´s concerns and experiences an integral part of the national policies to fully implement the programme of action on nuclear disarmament adopted at the 2000 Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the provisions of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction as well as the provisions of other international legally binding instruments on disarmament. I should add that these policies will be incomplete if we do not take into account women´s views on ways and means to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trafficking and manufacture of smalls arms and light weapons. The forthcoming UN Conference on small arms should also provide an opportunity to include a gender perspective in the Programme of Action to be adopted.

As a delegate in the United Nations I have participated in very interesting debates and negotiations on different disarmament aspects. But I always found myself in a practically men´s world. Actually we are very few women attending these meetings. I should add that I have not faced obstacles for being a woman in the negotiations. Nevertheless, I believe that governments should encourage disarmament education and training programmes for women in order to achieve a gender equality. Finally, let´s not forget that women have been recipients of important disarmament awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize.