Women in Peacekeeping [fr]
This year’s International Day of Peacekeepers pays tribute to the key role that women play in peacekeeping operations.
This year, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of resolution 1325 on the "Women, Peace and Security" agenda, this international day will pay particular tribute to the key role that women play in peacekeeping operations.
The importance of the role of women in peacekeeping
With the adoption of Resolution 1325 in 2000, which established the Agenda for Women, Peace and Security, the Security Council stressed the importance of women’s participation and gender mainstreaming in peace negotiations, peacekeeping operations and peacebuilding. This resolution thus affirms that women are not only victims of armed conflicts but are also actors and must therefore be more involved in conflict resolution.
The participation of women in peacekeeping operations is an essential condition for the success of this Agenda and of peacekeeping operations as such.
The increased participation of women in peacekeeping operations has thus demonstrated that it improves the effectiveness of missions, provides better access to local communities, especially women, and enables better promotion of human rights and protection of civilians.
The participation of women in peacekeeping operations also encourages more active participation of women in peace processes and political decision-making. For example, it has been shown that when more women are involved in peace negotiations, they are more inclusive and produce more sustainable results. Where women are formal signatories to peace agreements, studies have also shown that there is a greater chance that they will be implemented.
Since its creation in 1948, peacekeeping operations have evolved towards being more representative of the populations it serves, with a growing place and role for women within them. Women are increasingly represented in peacekeeping operations. In 1993, women accounted for 1% of uniformed personnel deployed. By 2019, women constitute 4.7 per cent of military contingents and 10.8 per cent of training and education units. While progress has thus been made, it is essential to continue efforts to improve the representation of women at all levels of peacekeeping contingents.
United Nations course for female military personnel
The number of female personnel deployed in the peacekeeping service remains low. At the end of 2018, only 4 per cent of the military components of missions were women. United Nations-led initiatives resulted in 13.4 per cent of deployed personnel being female by January 2019.
It is in this context that the UN Programme for Female Military Personnel, a pilot project born in 2015 and led by UN Women in India and South Africa, was created. The aim of this training is to increase the deployment of women in peacekeeping operations. This innovative initiative aims in particular to provide career advancement opportunities for women military personnel.
Since its launch, the course has been held annually in China, Kenya and India. For 2020, the programme includes a French-speaking dimension and will be held next September in Senegal. This training will be financed by France to the tune of €300,000.
To date, more than 400 female military personnel have benefited from this training. According to the head of the Force Generation Service in the UN Department of Peace Operations, 75 per cent of the women trained have been, or will be, deployed. It is therefore essential to continue these efforts.
The French Ministry of the Armed Forces’ Gender Equality Plan
As the "Great national cause of the quinquennium", France is also committed to moving towards greater equality between women and men in all areas.
To this end, Florence Parly presented the Gender Equality Plan for the Ministry of the Armed Forces on 7 March 2019.
Even if the French armies are today among the most feminised in the world (4th rank), the effort must continue and be reinforced.
The Gender Equality Plan is based on three main lines of action:
Recruiting: encourage women to join the armed forces in order to build up a sufficient pool of recruits and enable more women to reach the highest levels of responsibility;
Loyalty: to encourage the female military to remain in the military to avoid them leaving the operational sector or the institution;
Valorize: enhance the image of women in the armed forces.
These three areas are broken down into 22 concrete measures, which will be implemented and then broken down according to the specificities of the armies, directorates and services. Among them, flagship measures such as :
- make management more flexible with regard to access to grades and responsibilities, in particular by accounting for parental leave and the time taken to bring up a child.
- generalise to all armies, directorates and services, the implementation of "gender references" in order to better prevent, advise and support the command in matters of gender equity
- strengthen the feminisation of the high command by setting ambitious and quantified objectives (10% of women each year among the laureates of the Ecole de guerre competition; 10% of women among general officers by 2022; doubling the share of women among general officers by 2025)