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Peace: Still a Man's Thang
March 3, 2009 6:02 PM   Subscribe

In 2001, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 on Women's Role on Peace-Building and Security, calling for increased participation by women in conflict resolution and peace negotiations. Eight years later, "in terms of signing the peace documents and being at the peace table and involved in the peace-making operations, 1.3 percent of all the signatures in the world on these peacekeeping documents have been rendered by women." (Stephen Lewis, former UN special envoy), and as of 2007, women constituted only 1% of peacekeeping military personnel. Could increasing women's participation also help reduce sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers?
posted by terranova (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Including more female voices in the peacemaking process would be a good thing. Women and children are often the most vulnerable and targeted populations in conflict zones and having conflict resolution include a feminine perspective would help illustrate and acknowledge these concerns.

Further I think including more women in peacekeeping forces would probably be a good thing. That UN report indicated that 30% of international civilian personnel and 20% of the local recruited civilian personnel. It seems that including female military personnel could possibly reduce the incidents of sexual exploitation carried out by UN peacekeepers on the refugee population. In many conflict zones soldiers are often viewed with understandable concern. By putting a female face with the blue helmets I believe you might result in improved trust between peacekeepers and refugee populations.

That being said, I think mission commanders would need to be sensitive to the societal norms of the soldiers being tasked for peacekeeping missions. Further every consideration should be made to make sure women peacekeepers are not placed in situations in which they might be vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse from their fellow peacekeepers.
posted by vuron at 6:50 PM on March 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not sure UN peacekeeping has been all that successful with - or with out - women. Maybe what they need is more women with bigger guns.
posted by tkchrist at 7:12 PM on March 3, 2009


Could increasing women's participation also help reduce sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers?

That would probably depend on whether women are more or less likely to engage in sexual exploitation in general or in war zones. Adding women might help, but it might not make a difference.

By putting a female face with the blue helmets I believe you might result in improved trust between peacekeepers and refugee populations.

You seem to be equating a female face with a friendly face. In some peacekeeping scenarios, that might be a good thing, but probably not in others. Further, women in a peacekeeper role could prove to be just as threatening as men.

There are a lot of questions here, but they are worth answering.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:24 PM on March 3, 2009


Well, 1.3% might be okay. I mean, do we have demographic figures on the percentage of women in the population?
posted by TypographicalError at 7:42 PM on March 3, 2009


Why would it? No.
posted by tarvuz at 4:46 AM on March 4, 2009


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