By Dominique Soguel
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The number of women in the U.N.'s peace-keeping forces have risen in the year, but not fast enough, says an official in charge of peacekeeping strategy.
UNITED NATIONS (WOMENSENEWS)--The female ranks of U.N. peacekeepers are going up, but not fast enough, according to the organization's top cop in charge of peacekeeping strategy.
"For policing to be effective, it needs to be reflective of the society," said Andrew Carpenter, chief of the strategic policy and development section of the U.N.'s police division. "Do you know of a society that is 92 percent male?" Carpenter asked during a panel discussion Monday at the U.N.'s New York headquarters.
Carpenter used the 53rd session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women to appeal to member nations to deploy more women in peace-keeping operations around the world.
He also used his appearance on the panel to highlight some progress: One third of the 25 officers in the United Nations elite rapid reaction team are women.
An all-female Indian police unit is deployed in Liberia. Seven U.N. peacekeeping missions have specialized police units for women and children..
In 2007, 27 women served in senior leadership positions in U.N. peacekeeping operations. This number now stands at 45, with Argentina, Nigeria, South Africa and Pakistan among the countries that have made the most progress.
"You have to start at the top," said Carpenter. "You will see a trickle down."
As of February 2009, 874 of 9,911 U.N. peacekeepers were women, a 4-percent jump from the previous year.
But of 18 United Nations police commissioners, Carpenter said, only two are female. Seven more women in that list is needed to reach gender parity at the senior level.
The inclusion of female officers in U.N. peacekeeping operations, said Carpenter, gives the United Nations greater credibili