Women in Peacekeeping

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Participants and instructors at the sixth UN Female Military Officers Course (UNFMOC). Photo: Undis Vatvedt Singh

More than 40 female military officers from 27 different countries are this week concluding a two week training course in Delhi organised by UN Women and UN Department of Peace Keeping Operations. The course is financed by the Norwegian Embassy.

The Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in India, in partnership with UN Women is organising two week training at Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi from 03 April to 14 April 2017. This is the third time India is hosting the training which is taking place for the sixth time. The first training in this series was held in 2015. The same training course has also been conducted in Beijing and Pretoria.

Female military officers are in great demand to staff protection and community liaison teams to secure a greater success of the UN Peace Keeping Missions. The UN goals for gender equality in peacekeeping operations originate from the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security, which recognizes the role of women in all processes that aim to establish a durable peace.

Women remain a significant minority in peacekeeping missions. In 2009 the UN set modest goals to increase the number of female peacekeepers to 20 % in the police units and 10 % in the military contingents. Today, still only 4 % of the personnel in UN missions are women, and these are mostly support staff.

The training team consists of some of the most experienced and seasoned speakers from across the globe. Participation from all the continents including instructors, facilitators and evaluators has ensured balanced regional representation.

India has also taken a lead in hosting specialized UN peacekeeping courses on Conflict Related Sexual Violence (CRSV) at CUNPK in the past. Interestingly, India is one of the very few countries which even fielded a complete Women Police battalion in a UN mission in Liberia, from 2007 to 2015

Since 2006, Norway has had an action plan on women, peace and security, which aims to contribute to increased female participation in peacekeeping processes both locally and internationally. The Norwegian Government is committed to working towards increased deployment of females in UN missions. The first female force commander in a peacekeeping operation was a Norwegian, Major General Kristin Lund at the United Nation Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.