from Women Around the World and Women and Foreign Policy Program

CFR Policy Innovation Memorandum Advocates for More Female Peacekeepers

An Indian officer from the first all-female unit of UN peacekeepers stands in front of troops outside Liberia's capital Monrovia. January 30, 2007. REUTERS/Christopher Herwig (LIBERIA)

Women are routinely underrepresented in peacekeeping operations, even though their participation has been shown to improve mission effectiveness and advance stability. The U.S. government should support a UN premium for police- and troop-contributing countries to increase the training and deployment of female peacekeepers.

September 27, 2018

An Indian officer from the first all-female unit of UN peacekeepers stands in front of troops outside Liberia's capital Monrovia. January 30, 2007. REUTERS/Christopher Herwig (LIBERIA)
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As world leaders meet at the United Nations General Assembly this week to discuss global security concerns—including how to prevent conflicts and improve UN peacekeeping—there is one strategy that they should not overlook: the inclusion of women.

In a new policy innovation memorandum, Increasing Female Participation in Peacekeeping Operations, we demonstrate that women’s participation has been shown to improve mission effectiveness and advance stability. Women make unique and substantive contributions to peacekeeping missions, and their participation improves dispute resolution while reducing the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse.

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Women and Women's Rights

Peacekeeping

Conflict Prevention

Gender

Yet the rate of female participation in peacekeeping forces has changed slowly over the past quarter century, growing from 1 percent total in 1993 to just 4 percent of military peacekeepers and 10 percent of police personnel in 2017—far short of the UN targets of 15 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Countries around the world deploy women to the United Nations at levels far lower than they are represented in domestic security forces, and nearly half of all troop-contributing countries do not contribute any female military observers or staff officers whatsoever.

To address this gap, we recommend that the U.S. government take the following steps:

  • Support a UN voluntary multi-partner pilot fund to increase the deployment of female peacekeepers;
  • Press member states to increase the number of women in the peacekeeping pipeline, including by partnering with at least five police- and troop-contributing countries to launch new initiatives to recruit and retain women in their national forces; and
  • Strengthen UN performance measures to track the number, rank, and function of female peacekeepers, as well as whether the units were trained to prevent conflict-related sexual violence, and whether vetting systems correctly identify peacekeepers credibly suspected of sexual exploitation and abuse.


Read the policy innovation memorandum at http://cfr.org/FemalePeacekeeping.

More on:

Women and Women's Rights

Peacekeeping

Conflict Prevention

Gender

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