United Nations Efforts to Recruit MORE Females
“Gender-responsive policing makes us more efficient in what we do.”
The UN Police in South Sudan, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo have stepped up their efforts to increase female participation in line with the new ‘UN Secretary-General’s Gender Parity Strategy’. Operations in these areas have developed action plans with specific targets for female police numbers in the field, and at UN Headquarters, by December 2028.
Alexander Zuev, Assistant Secretary-General for the Rule of Law, at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was speaking to the United Nations Security Council at an annual briefing on Tuesday. It was mentioned by Mr. Zuev that more women officers are needed at UN Police, to make the work of the organization reach its full potential. Mr. Zuev said: “Women police officers can help to mentor and inspire future women police leaders, increase access to justice for women and children at risk, and improve information-gathering and analysis by building bridges to vulnerable groups.”
Female officials are also required for leadership roles within the UN Police to complement the UN’s efforts in peacekeeping operations. Unfortunately, underrepresentation ‘at the top’ persists. In response to this issue, the Police Division has organized female Senior Police Officer Command Development Courses which have identified over 140 officers for mid-career to high-level positions.
UN Police have already reached 40% female presence in UN headquarters and operational posts. Increasing female presence is essential in developing accessibility to fair justice for all. Unaisi Lutu Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), stated that the deployment of women police officers promotes confidence, encourages survivors of sexual violence to report incidents, and enables civilians to share information.
Ms. Vuniwaqa deployed the ‘Formed Police Unit (FPU)’ which is made up of 50% female officers who have three core duties: public order management, protection of United Nations personnel and facilities, and support to such police operations that require a concerted response. Well-trained FPU’s can operate in “High-Risk” environments and have recently been conducting activities such as awareness raising, providing force protection in situations where women and children converge in large numbers, set up criminal intelligence systems and use modern technology to prevent and investigate serious and organized crime.
The participation of female police officers is critical for the operations of the UN as these officer’s act as role models for gender equality, inspiring woman and girls to advocate their own rights and pursue careers in law enforcement. Female policing enables access and support from law enforcement to local women.
For females looking to join the united nations and its peacekeeping operations, the UN Police Division has launched an all-female training initiative to prepare female officers for the required assessment for mission service. It includes language comprehension, driving, and proficiency in firearms assessment. Since the training initiative began, 660 female officers have been trained in seven countries. Once the test is passed, officers are eligible for deployment in any United Nations operation.
Working for the UN Police is very rewarding. Female Police Officers are rewarded with great benefits and are eligible for an annual ‘International Female Police Peacekeeper Award’ designed to recognize internationally, the outstanding accomplishments of a female police officer serving in a united nations peace operation, to highlight the roles and contribution made by a female officer, to encourage participation of all countries in United Nations peace operations and to promote an understanding of policing in peace operations.
With the UN’s action plan to recruit more female officers, the organization can expect a new level of performance and gender equality. It is encouraged that more female’s join the UN and their peacekeeping operations.
James Preston — November 2018