Pretoria (Gender Links) – "Women and men experience conflict differently and therefore understand peace differently". This quote from the United Nations website on Gender and Peacekeeping sums up the vision behind the second UN peacekeeping training program for female officers, convened by UN Women in collaboration with the South African government, that is taking place this week in South Africa’s s capital city, Pretoria. The training program is attended by 40 female officers from 23 countries worldwide, and will equip its participants with key skills necessary to become successful peacekeepers.
According to the United Nations’ gender statistics, women make up just 3 % of military personnel and 10% of police personnel in UN Peacekeeping missions. This is a small increase from 1 % in 1993, and is far from satisfactory in light of the important contributions women peacekeepers make in rendering peacekeeping forces approachable to women in the community, interviewing survivors of gender-based violence, interacting with women in societies where women are prohibited from speaking to men, providing role models for women – to name just a few of the positive impacts of recruiting women peacekeepers.
UN Women Special Advisor, Ms. Nozipho January-Bardill, corroborates the evidence suggesting that the presence of women substantially improves the outcomes of peacekeeping missions. "Commanders on the ground themselves often recognize that women peacekeepers broaden the range of skills and capacities among all categories of personnel, enhance the operational effectiveness of all tasks, and improve the mission's image, accessibility and credibility among the local population," she tells Gender Links.
Full story available at Gender Links.
Photo credit: Usip.org