4 June 2010

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Gender Parity Leads to Greater Efficiency, Effectiveness, Secretary-General Tells


Meeting on Increasing Women’s Participation in United Nations Policing


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the meeting on the global effort to increase the participation of women in United Nations policing in peacekeeping operations, in New York, today, 4 June:

Ten years ago, Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) recognized the importance of expanding the role and contribution of women in United Nations field-based operations.  In particular, it highlighted the need for more female military observers, civilian police, human rights and humanitarian personnel.

Gender parity is as important here as it is across our agenda.  It is not an end in itself.  It is a means to an end:  greater efficiency, greater effectiveness.

By empowering women within the United Nations we are not just upholding the principles for which we stand.  We are making ourselves a better Organization.  This is particularly true when we increase the participation of women police officers in peacekeeping.

By empowering women we build stronger societies.  When a crowd needs to be controlled, a house searched or a suspect questioned, a policewoman’s presence can defuse tension and guard against offence.  When women and girls suffer sexual violence, they know they will find a sympathetic ear.  And when they see female role models keeping the peace, we have seen women and girls become inspired to join the force and do the same.

These are all key ingredients for a durable peace.  That is why, last year, we launched a global effort to increase the proportion of women in peacekeeping operations to 20 per cent by 2014.  Not just because deploying more women reflects natural justice, not just because women are good at the job, but because women bring an essential extra dimension to one of our most important tasks — bringing peace, stability and development to populations recovering from conflict.

I am proud to stand with you today.  Along with your military and humanitarian colleagues, you place your dedication to the United Nations mission ahead of your own comfort and safety.  Sometimes you pay the ultimate sacrifice.

It is less than half a year since we laid dear colleagues to rest after the terrible earthquake in Haiti.  Rosa Crespo Biel, He Zhihong, Batipa Agnès Koura.  Three women who lived and died working alongside their male colleagues for peace and justice in a troubled world.

Let us honour their memory.  Let us ensure that we enable more women to bring positive change in our world through the great pursuit of United Nations peacekeeping.  Let us commit to give women the power to empower.

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For information media • not an official record