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Research Report

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

Copyright Date: Jul. 1, 2013
Pages: 32

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. None)
  2. (pp. i-ii)
  3. (pp. iii-iv)
  4. (pp. 1-1)
  5. (pp. 1-6)

    It is difficult to accurately map trends in the number of female peacekeepers in UN operations, for several reasons. First, it was only in 2000 that the UN collected sex-disaggregated data on its peacekeeping missions, with statistics dating back only to 1994.¹ Second, popular sources of publicly available data on national militaries, including The Military Balance produced by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, do not include sexdisaggregated statistics on national armed forces. Third, very few countries produce country-specific assessments of female participation in their national forces or in their contributions to UN peacekeeping.² This study therefore draws on a...

  6. (pp. 6-8)

    Gender equality is a goal for both the internal composition of UN peacekeeping missions and for the work the mission does in the host nation. Therefore, the UN policies and guidelines to execute the mandate on women, peace, and security are both internally and externally focused.

    The goal to increase the number of women in the composition of military and police contingents in UN peacekeeping is an internally focused genderequality goal because it aims for equal representation of women within the UN operation. The goal to integrate a gender perspective into the work of the mission, including the military components...

  7. (pp. 8-12)

    In 2006, DPKO adopted the UN Policy Directive on Gender Equality in Peacekeeping Operations (see table 2 below). This elaborated the principles and requirements for implementing UN mandates on women, peace, and security in the work of all missions. It also examined the gaps in recruitment and retention of women and gave DPKO a mandate to “advance gender balance among DPKO headquarters and mission staff, including at senior management levels.”33

    In 2010, DPKO and DFS published “Guidelines for Integrating a Gender Perspective into the Work of the United Nations Military in Peacekeeping Operations” (hereafter DPKO/DFS Guidelines). These underlined the importance...

  8. (pp. 12-17)

    The UN and member states’ singular focus on counting the numbers of female uniformed personnel in peace operations obscures the equally important goal of integrating a gender perspective into the work of field missions. Both goals are hindered by three core issues: a lack of understanding about Resolution 1325 and the UN policy and guidelines on gender equality in peace operations; a gap in data and analysis about this set of issues; and, most importantly, the prevalence of social norms and biases that perpetuate gender inequality within the security sector.

    The UN’s policy on gender equality in peacekeeping is based...

  9. (pp. 17-19)

    One of the most significant findings of this study is the significant proportion of men interviewed who said that they support the goals of gender equality in peacekeeping and in their individual work with peacekeeping missions. These men were military and political advisers, senior-level officers at the UN, former force commanders, and chiefs of staff of missions. This is significant because leaders, especially political and military leaders, play a crucial role in promoting the goals of the UN system, and in generating the political will necessary to execute those goals. Their understanding of gender equality varied, but they all had...

  10. (pp. 20-21)

    1. Create a gender-sensitive force generation strategy for UN peacekeeping with sex-specific measures to address the recruitment, retention, and advancement of female uniformed personnel in missions.

    DPKO should develop and publish a long-term strategic plan that identifies priorities for action on female recruitment, retention, and advancement. The strategy should operationalize the 2010 “DPKO/DFS Guidelines on Integrating a Gender Perspective into the Work of the United Nations Military Peacekeeping Operations,” and set out the actions that will be undertaken to deliver improvements in these areas, including research, training, and outreach to member states.

    2. Encourage further research into the barriers to recruitment, retention,...

  11. (pp. 26-26)