Women in Peacekeeping

According to United Nations Peacekeeping, in 1993, women made up 1% of deployed uniformed personnel. Whilst this number has increased in recent decades, women now only make up 4% of approximately 80,000 uniformed personnel within peacekeeping missions, with Africa contributing to 65% of women in peacekeeping, according to Bintou Keita, Assistant-Secretary-General for the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Their participation is crucial to the overall success of missions, thanks to the broadened skillsets available on the ground, yet their roles often goes unrecognised.

Not only are they able to fulfil their day-to-day responsibilities of gathering intelligence, preventing sexual violence during and after conflict, as well as providing relief and rehabilitation services to victims of violence, they are able to engage with the locals and gain the trust of the communities in which they serve.

Their presence on the ground empowers women within these communities, which are often male-dominated societies, and enables interaction with survivors of gender-based violence. Female peacekeepers have a greater awareness of women’s vulnerabilities and needs, and work to improve their access to support. In addition, they support the protection of women’s rights.

The need for further female participation in peacekeeping remains, with Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, recommending an increase in the number of female peacekeepers in the ‘System-wide strategy on gender parity’ launched in 2017, which hopes to seek gender parity by 2028.

The recruitment and retainment of women in the field is critical as they have a positive impact within peacekeeping environments, they inspire females in their host communities and provide them with a greater sense of security.

Prime Production works with key strategists in the field of gender equality, such as UN Women and Mama Cash.

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