Why do we need more women in peacekeeping operations?
A 94% male military component is ill-suited to a peacekeeping environment. This is what more than 100 top military officials concluded during the 2017 Chiefs of Defence Conference earlier this month in New York.
Today women represent only 6% of deployed UN peacekeepers in the positions of staff officers and military observers.
The Head of UN Peacekeeping, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, welcomed the conference’s focus on gender and he called on all troop contributing countries to increase this number to 15% by the end of 2017, a goal that he described as ‘modest’. As of today only 16 out of the 120 troop contributing countries meet the required threshold: Cambodia, Canada, Cyprus, Kenya, Liberia, Moldova, Mongolia, Nigeria, Peru, South Africa, South Korea, Tanzania, Uganda, United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Deploying women in peacekeeping is a matter of efficiency and performance.
Women peacekeepers can empower women in the host communities, interview survivors of gender-based violence, strengthen the situational awareness of the mission by interacting with women in societies where women are prohibited from speaking to men, and assist female ex-combatants during the process of reintegration into civilian life.
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