About the IANSA Women's Network

The IANSA Women's Network is the only international network focused on the connections between gender, women’s rights, small arms and armed violence. It was formed in 2001 as a women’s caucus at IANSA events and now links members in countries ranging from Fiji to Senegal, Argentina to South Africa, Canada to Sudan.

Mobilise, Organise and Resist Gun Violence … wherever it occurs

The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) is the global movement against gun violence — a network of 250 civil society organisations working in over 90 countries to stop the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons.

The IANSA Women's Network — individuals and groups working to:

  • Stop gun violence against women in the home, on the streets or on the battlefield;
  • Involve women fully in peacemaking, peacebuilding and disarmament;
  • Ensure that women’s interests are served by policies on guns;
  • Reduce military spending;
  • Break the link between violence and masculinity;
  • Prevent gun violence around the world.

Together we produce information materials, advocate for new policies, and engage with civil society, governments and international organisations.

Our quarterly Bulletin, Women at Work: Preventing Gun Violence, in English, Spanish and French contains profiles of members, articles on women, gender and small arms, and a listing of news, resources and events.


The proliferation and misuse of small arms is a global crisis

It results in 1000 deaths a day and countless more injuries, disabilities and disruptions to the lives of individuals and their communities. It fuels conflict, crime, suicide, abuse by authorities, intimidation and fear. No country in the world is immune to the danger created by readily available guns.

“The power of the people is stronger than the power of weapons.” Gita, Nepal

Applying a gender perspective to the small arms issue — understanding the different ways that men, women, boys and girls engage in, are affected by, and respond to gun violence — is key to developing effective solutions to the problem.


For every woman killed or injured by guns, many more are threatened

Guns are often used as a tool of intimidation to facilitate rape and other types of physical and psychological violence against women. Women around the world report that their partners use guns to scare them into submission.

“For five years we heard our mother’s screams. For five years my father always carried a gun and pointed it at all of us.” Karen, The Philippines

Guns make domestic violence lethal

A gun increases the risk of death by 12 times compared to other means of violence. The law in most countries still does not require police to remove guns from perpetrators. Domestic violence increases during and after armed conflict.

"I am most upset with the police who stood by and did nothing even though they knew there was armed violence in our home and that my husband had an illegal gun." Vesna, Macedonia

A gun in the home does not protect women – legally owned guns are just as dangerous as illegal ones

Research in the USA has shown that a gun in the home increases the overall risk of someone in the household being murdered by 41%. For women, however, the risk of death is tripled.

El SalvadorEl Salvador

Women and armed conflict

Women increasingly participate in conflicts fueled by small arms, either against their will or voluntarily, as combatants, nurses, cooks, or sex workers.

"I was forced to use a gun and kill people … I do not know how many people were injured or killed by my bullets." Janet, Uganda

Manipur, IndiaManipur, India

UN Security Council Resolution 1325

Members of the Women's Network have taken leadership roles in peacebuilding, violence prevention and education about gun violence. They are using UN Security Council Resolution 1325 to increase women's participation in disarmament processes and in the development of small arms policy and practice.


‘Indirect’ impacts

Women suffer ‘indirect’ negative impacts from gun violence including damage to health, education and social services. The economic burden of supporting their families or becoming full-time caregivers falls on women when male relatives are killed, injured or disabled by gun violence.

"An entire family dies when just one bullet is fired at someone. In the killing fields of Manipur, stories of suffering heaped on families through acts of violence are legion." Bina, India