Not Just a Numbers Game: Increasing Women’s Participation in UN Peacekeeping

Report / White Paper

 Back
August 26, 2013

Not Just a Numbers Game: Increasing Women’s Participation in UN Peacekeeping

In 2000, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security. This stressed the need to integrate a gender perspective into the maintenance and
promotion of international peace and security, including through peacekeeping operations. However, the inclusion of female uniformed personnel in national contributions to UN peace
operations has fallen short of expectations. By March 2013, women comprised lessthan 4 percent of UN peacekeepers globally, accounting for about 3 percent of UN militaryp ersonnel and about 9.7percent of UN police.
The UN is unlikely to reach its goals for gender equality in peacekeeping missions because it is not fully implementing its own two-pronged approach:
increase the number of women in peacekeeping operations and integrate a gender perspective within these missions.Both goals have gone unmet due to three core issues: the lack of understanding among member states about Resolution 1325 and UN policy on gender equality in peace operations; a gap in data and analysis about women’s participation in national security institutions globally and in UN peacekeeping in particular; and, most importantly, the prevalence of social norms and biases that perpetuate gender inequality within the security sector. Further, the UN and member states’ focus
on increasing the numbers of female uniformed personnel has obscured the equally important goal of integrating a gender perspective into thework of peace operations.
The likelihood of achieving the UN’s goals for gender equality in the composition of peacekeeping operations would significantly improve if there were a clear strategy to effectively operationalize the UN’s existing policy and generate greater
political support for it among governments of key member states. Specifically, increasing female participation and integrating a gender perspective into peace operationsrequires a strategic vision and coherent efforts in the field, at UN headquarters, andwithin key memberstates.
This study proposes that the policy guidelines already outlined by the UN Departments of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and Field Support (DFS) need to be operationalized through
a comprehensive strategic plan supported by strong leadership. This should include the following
activities:
1. Create a gender-sensitive force generation strategy that includes both military and police personnel for UN peacekeeping with sexspecific measures to address the recruitment, retention, andadvancement offemaleuniformed
personnel in missions.
 
2. Encourage further research on the recruitment and retention of women in national police and armed forces.
 
3. Establish a gender-coaching program for the UN Military and PoliceAdvisory Committee.
 
4. Implement the DPKO/DFS guidelines and appoint military gender advisers in all UN peacekeeping missions.
 
5. Conduct an outreach initiative to memberstates to increase understanding about Resolution 1325 and the operational benefits of integrating a gender perspective into UN peacekeeping based on a comprehensive multi-country study.
 
6. Conduct a baseline study on the social normsthat perpetuate inequality between men andwomen in UN peacekeeping operations.
Resource type: 
Publication year: 
2013