Women, Men and Gun Violence

Options for Action

A growing global effort to collect information on gun violence that is broken down into age, ethnicity, and sex is helping challenge some over-generalisations that hinder more refined understanding of the impacts of small arms misuse. These include statements like ‘80% of the victims of armed violence are women and children’. This claim may be true in some contexts, particularly recent wars in some African nations; but in general, it is primarily men – young, poor, socially marginalised men most of all — who are killed or injured from gun violence. Men are also more likely to commit gun violence: in almost every country, a disproportionate percentage of gun owners and users are men. Although women are not the majority of homicide victims, when they are killed – and it is overwhelmingly men who kill them – guns are often a preferred weapon. This paper looks at the gendered effects and nature of gun violence and provides recommendations on reducing the widespread human security impacts it produces.