UN peacekeeping: women’s empowerment endures as a priority

A view of the UN Headquarters in New York City A view of the UN Headquarters in New York City Photo by the blowup on Unsplash

25 March 2021

Women’s empowerment in the UN peacekeeping remains a “top priority”, says the Undersecretary General for Peace Operations.

During a side event of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, applauded women’s contributions to peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts. Despite the endeavours and initiatives to make peacekeeping operations more inclusive and gender-responsive, opportunities for women remain limited.

In 2000, the UN Security Council had adopted its first landmark resolution on Women, Peace, and Security to promote the expansion and contribution of women in UN’s military operations. The matter of female empowerment within the UN military continued to be “a top priority” over the past three years, says Lacroix, as reflected in the Under-Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping Initiative (A4P), the guiding framework implemented to enhance civilian and uniformed female personnel at all levels and in key positions.

Notwithstanding the improvements, Mr. Lacroix recognized that “progress overall remains slow”. According to the figures, up to January 2021 women represented only 5.4 percent of military personnel, while only two women are currently deployed in the most senior military levels. The diversification of leaderships and teams within the military is important not only to allow women to reach top positions and create enabling environments for their professional development, but also because it promotes greater operational effectiveness and performance, better reflects, and improves access to communities, provides new perspectives for confrontation, and creates inspiring role models for women and girls in post-conflict settings.

The achievement of Gender Parity depends on the collective efforts of the United Nations and the Member States. That is why the Under-Secretary-General urged Troop Contributing Countries, along with other peace contributors, to engage in Gender Parity by allocating resources and political will to the cause. 


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Author: Sofia Antonelli; Editor: Shrabya Ghimire

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