All-Female Peacekeeping Unit Highlights Role of Women in Facilitating Peace and Security

Posted by Joshua R. Downes
October 31, 2012
Peruvian Peacekeeper in Haiti

With today's challenges, UN peacekeepers continue to play an essential role in furthering global peace and stability. Supporting these efforts is the United States' Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI). GPOI has worked tirelessly to build the peacekeeping capacity of countries currently contributing or preparing to contribute forces to global peacekeeping operations.

Recently, in response to a growing demand for female involvement at all levels of international peacekeeping, Peru developed an all-female peacekeeping unit with members from all of its military branches, trained them in international peacekeeping, and deployed elements of the unit to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in January 2011. GPOI facilitated the unit's participation in the UN mission by supporting improvements to Peru's training facilities and provided training assistance and deployment equipment. GPOI's support of the Peruvian military's effort to put female troops in important peacekeeping roles also highlights the Obama administration's efforts to promote the role of women in peace and security internationally.

On December 19, 2011, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing the implementation of the first ever U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. The National Action Plan identifies actions that the U.S. Government will take to accelerate, institutionalize, and better coordinate efforts to advance women's inclusion in nation stabilization. It also hopes to expand training on how to protect women from sexual and gender-based violence and to help ensure equal access to relief and recovery. On the same day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton introduced the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security in a speech at Georgetown University. In her speech, Secretary Clinton acknowledged that in the future, women need to be given a more active role in peacebuilding. As she stated, “women are too often excluded from both the negotiations that make peace and the institutions that maintain it... That is an unacceptable waste of talent and of opportunity for the rest of us as well.”

GPOI contributes to the development of the National Action Plan through training activities, which have facilitated the training of more than 3,200 female peacekeepers worldwide. GPOI seeks to increase the participation of women in peacekeeping training events in order to prevent conflict and build peace in areas affected by war, violence, and insecurity. Additionally, in its 63 partner countries and in most of the 43 GPOI-supported peace support operations training centers around the world, GPOI seeks to strengthen gender equality and prevent violence by supporting instruction to peacekeepers on prevention of sexual and gender-based violence, exploitation, and abuse.

GPOI will continue to increase the participation of female partner nation personnel in GPOI-funded training to empower women to prevent conflict and build peace in areas affected by war, violence, and insecurity. As Secretary Clinton has explained: “For years, many of us have tried to show the world that women are not just victims of war; they are agents of peace.”

Comments

Comments

Patrick
|
Maryland, USA
November 1, 2012

Patrick in Maryland writes:

The "Peruvian All-Female Peacekeeping Unit", sounds like a good start on building a peaceful nation. :)

Lauren H.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
November 15, 2012

Lauren H. in Washington, D.C. writes:

I write this today after having watched a clip of Nancy Pelosi standing amidst a team of female senators as she announces her plan to stay in the Speaker seat. She was the first woman to become Speaker of the House, and it doesn't appear that she will be replaced without a fight.

During the interview, reporters hassle her about her age and she defiantly says they must subtract 14 years for the time she was at home learning the best skills of all-- diplomacy and interpersonal relations while child rearing. She acknowledges this was her personal decision, but I think it highlights an important part of why women are instrumental during peacekeeping operations. It is not unknown that women are more sympathetic than men and I don’t think it is something we should be ashamed of. It is a personality trait that can be a game-changer in peace negotiations.

I think Nancy Pelosi, and all women in leadership positions are role models for young women worldwide. As time goes on, there will be a recognition of women’s’ capacities in many aspects in diplomacy and we will be touted for the personality traits that once caused the opposite sex to see us as “weak” and “incompetent.” The more women like Nancy Pelosi and Hilary Clinton we have backing us up, the stronger and hopefully more peaceful, we will all become.

Nora C.
|
Florida, USA
December 10, 2012

Nora C. in Florida writes:

This note is very exciting. It describes a small step in the process we women have been proposing all the time: include more women at the negotiation table, and in peacemaking teams. And now, reading this information, I'm a bit disappointed, because it falls short. Where is the call for action? where are the guidelines to invite/include the participation and input of any other women peacekeeping groups? Where do we register? How do we follow what is next? Is it considered the establishment of a path for women peacekeepers to be included, or is this only an isolated shot? Hillary, how do you foresee the path by which "women need to be given a more active role in peacebuilding?" Is this more active role to be given to us, or do we need to keep pushing for it, up until the people in charge of peace missions feel the public push and are strongly "invited" to open the team to more women? When is the time when we as domestic public can watch the pictures of official negotiators and feel "something is wrong here" if there is not a female face in the team?

Col
|
United Kingdom
April 15, 2013

Col in the United Kingdom writes:

I think this is a good start, but I think that there have been steps in place that have increased women's participation in peacekeeping. Very much like Nora C, who raises some very good questions, I tend to agree, although so far these actions are very encouraging, there has to be more. There has to be more to ensure that women's inclusion in peacekeeping and peace-making is not minimal or for effect. It would help if the rhetoric surrounding genders was muted, because generally, what is needed is equal representation of genders. Therefore the all-female peacekeeping teams are excellent for women's inclusion, but on the other hand, I fear they deepen the differences between genders. Which, may contradict there initial inclusion.

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