Why We Need Women Peacekeepers

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Police women at UNAMID commemoration

23.02.2016 - In all fields of peacekeeping, women peacekeepers have proven that they can perform the same roles, to the same standards and under the same difficult conditions, as their male counterparts.

It is an operational imperative that more female peacekeepers are recruited and retained.  As peacekeeping has evolved to encompass a broader humanitarian approach, women are increasingly seen as a vital part in peacekeeping operations.

In 1993, women made up 1% of deployed uniformed personnel. In 2014, out of approximately 125,000 peacekeepers, women constitute 3% of military personnel and 10% of police personnel in UN Peacekeeping missions.

Striving towards gender parity is a priority for the UN Secretary-General in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 5. In peacekeeping operations and special political missions, the figures are more challenging, with women making up only 29% of international and 17% of national staff.  UN Police Division launched 'the Global Effort' to recruit more female police officers into national police services and into UN police operations around the world.

Why is it important to have female peacekeepers?

Female peacekeepers act as role models in the local environment, inspiring women and girls in often male-dominated societies to push for their own rights and for participation in peace processes.

The increased recruitment of women is critical for:

  • empowering women in the host community;
  • addressing specific needs of female ex-combatants during the process of demobilizing and reintegration into civilian life;
  • helping make the peacekeeping force approachable to women in the community;
  • interviewing survivors of gender-based violence;
  • mentoring female cadets at police and military academies;
  • interacting with women in societies where women are prohibited from speaking to men.

The presence of women peacekeepers can also:

  • help to reduce conflict and confrontation;
  • improve access and support for local women;
  • provide role models for women in the community;
  • provide a greater sense of security to local populations, including women and children;
  • broaden the skill set available within a peacekeeping mission.

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UNRICs Related Links

· Women in Peacekeeping

· United Nations Police Division

· Sustainable Development Goals

Photo Credits

UNAMID