June 24, 2013 – Less than four percent of the UN’s 90,551 uniformed peacekeepers deployed in 16 missions throughout the world are women, according to the most recent figures available from the Dept. of Peacekeeping Operations.
These numbers came into focus today as the Security Council debated Resolution 1325, passed in 2000 and which calls for women’s full and equal participation in peacemaking and for an end to sexual violence in conflict. According to the resolution, recruiting more female military or police officers is a means of better protecting the safety and rights of women and girls.
In 2009, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a campaign to increase the number of women peacekeepers to 20 percent in police units by 2014, and to 10 percent in military contingents.
Those targets are nowhere near being met. Women comprise about 10 percent of UN peacekeeping police units (1,251/12,480) and less than 3 percent of the military contingents (2,259/78,091).
But the UN is hardly to blame for these numbers as it relies on member states to contribute troops for its peacekeeping missions and, globally, women are under-represented in police and army forces.
On the military side, women make up about 15 percent of active US army service members, while in Norway, which tops many gender equality indexes, only about 10 percent of the country’s military is female.
– Denis Fitzgerald
(photo: UN Photo/Saw Lwin)