Exploring the Possibilities of Women in UN Peacekeeping: Benefits and Obstacles for Female Police Officers

At the UN peacekeeping operations, domestic and international delegates explored ways to increase female involvement in the security and police forces, as well as to advance gender equality.

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The international workshop takes place in Hanoi on May 30. Photo: congthuong.vn
The international workshop takes place in Hanoi on May 30. Photo: congthuong.vn

An international symposium held in Hanoi on May 30 underscored the vital role of female police officers in UN peacekeeping operations, as well as the significance of promoting diversity in conflict resolution and post-conflict peacebuilding, according to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

The People’s Security Academy and UN Women (the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women) recently organized an event, with support from the Canadian Government. It was part of a regional project entitled “Empowering Women for Sustainable Peace: Preventing Violence and Promoting Social Cohesion in ASEAN“, funded jointly by the Canadian and Republic of Korean governments.

Women police officers often face additional barriers when seeking to deploy, such as challenging gender stereotypes and limited access to resources and training opportunities. During a recent discussion, both Vietnamese and foreign participants explored ways to encourage female police officers to participate in UN peacekeeping operations and to promote gender equality.

They investigated the barriers and challenges faced by female police officers in UN peacekeeping operations, but also highlighted the positive outcomes of their involvement – such as increasing community solidarity, providing gender-sensitive access to justice, and taking a gender-sensitive approach to conflict resolution, ultimately helping to foster trust and peace in conflict-affected countries and regions.

Delegates pose for a group photo. Photo: UN Women
Delegates pose for a group photo. Photo: UN Women

Caroline Nyamayemobe, the Acting Representative of UN Women in Vietnam, praised the workshop as an invaluable opportunity to recognize the invaluable contribution of women to peacekeeping operations, and to share the success stories of Canada and other nations in promoting the involvement of female officers in peacekeeping initiatives.

With knowledge and good practices shared, gender equality and women’s meaningful participation in peace and security are being strengthened, she emphasized.

Jacqueline O’Neill, Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security, recently visited Vietnam to observe the progress that the Southeast Asian nation has made in constructing its first-ever National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security. This plan reflects Vietnam’s dedication to promoting the involvement of women from its security and defense forces in peacekeeping operations.

It is an exhilarating time to explore Viet Nam, as the nation has recently established its first National Action Plan for Women, Peace, and Security and is dedicated to enabling more women in the military and police to participate in peacekeeping operations. Presentations like today’s are invaluable, as they provide us with the chance to exchange knowledge and learn from each other, while striving to identify and remove any obstructions women may face when it comes to peacekeeping.

“I thank the women who participated today, shared their experiences, and have signaled their willingness to deploy in these challenging roles,” she said. “You are powerful agents of change, and your participation is essential to building lasting peace and prosperity.”

Jacqueline O’Neill, Canadian Ambassador for Women, Peace, and Security visits Hanoi to promote Vietnamese female Police in UN Peacekeeping Operations.  Photo: UN Women
Jacqueline O’Neill, Canadian Ambassador for Women, Peace, and Security visits Hanoi to promote Vietnamese female Police in UN Peacekeeping Operations. Photo: UN Women

Concluding the workshop, Col. Trinh Ngoc Quyen, Director of the People’s Security Academy, called for assistance to help the academy expand cooperation with suitable training establishments or law enforcement bodies of Canada in the fields of common concerns, including training police officers for UN peacekeeping operations.

The involvement of Vietnamese women in peacekeeping operations, engineering units, and field hospitals has consistently surpassed the UN’s expectations. Their expertise and dedication have been crucial in ensuring successful missions.

By March 2022, the number of Vietnamese women serving as UN Military Experts on Mission/Military observers had already reached 28.4% – a 3.4% increase from the target set in the “Uniformed gender parity strategy 2018-2028” of the UN (25%). Similarly, the ratio of women serving in contingent Troops (Field Hospital 3rd rotation) had already surpassed the UN’s 2028 target of 15%, standing at 17.4%. Remarkably, Vietnam boasts the highest ratio of female troops deployed among ASEAN countries.

Hannah Nguyen