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«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.»

Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary-General

 

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Global Effort and Gender Initiatives

Increasing the number of female police officers

In August 2009, the United Nations launched a Global Effort to recruit more female police officers into national police services and into UN police operations around the world. The goal of the UN is to have 20% of its police female by 2014. Female police greatly increase the effectiveness of UN police components and help build trust with populations and inspire more women to become police officers in the countries where they serve.

The United Nations Police Division believes that police services should represent the societies they serve as they play an important role in their communities. This Global Effort, aimed at United Nations Member States, has been endorsed and promoted by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Under-Secretary-Generals for peacekeeping and field support. As part of the Police Division's overall recruitment strategy finding qualified policewomen is a priority.

UN Policewomen walking in single file in uniform.

Bangladeshi all-female police unit arrives in Haiti to assist with post-earthquake reconstruction. UN Photo / Marco Dormino

Since it was launched in 2009 the number of female officers has increased in many UN missions, most notably in Haiti, Liberia and Sudan. Despite the fact that more than 3,000 new police officers were deployed between August 2009 and August 2010, the percentage of female officers increased.

UN Member State Support

In August 2009, the Police Division launched a Global Effort to recruit more female police officers with the ambitious goal of ensuring that women make up one-fifth of all UN police by 2014. Mr. Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations stated in the July 2010 Police Magazine PDF Document that "this effort is on track – with the strong support of Member States."

The Global Effort initiative calls on United Nations Member States to:

  • Establish a policy that sets the percentage of their contribution of female police officers on a par with their national police gender ratio;
  • Review their recruitment requirements and procedures for international deployment to ensure that female candidates are not restricted from applying; and;
  • Consider providing incentives for officers who serve in peacekeeping missions.

The global message is empowerment. Women's participation in police peacekeeping empowers the communities in restoring peace and security and in reconstructing not only their police services, but also their societies.

UN International Network of Female Police Peacekeepers

The United Nations International Network of Female Police Peacekeepers was established to promote, strengthen and advance the profile of female police in international peace operations. This network promotes the UN Global Effort to increase the number of female police officers in national and international police services. It raises awareness about the experience of and the need for more female police in international peace operations.

Gender and Policing Toolkit

The United Nations Police Division is developing a Standardized Best Practices Toolkit on Gender and Policing in Peacekeeping Operations. The Toolkit will provide a repository of templates, concept of operations, standard operating procedures and modules for recruiting female police officers. It will assist police in mentoring national police, community policing and gender, investigating sexual and gender-based violence and gender mainstreaming.

Roundtable Discussion at UN Headquarters on UN Police and Gender Based Violence

6 August 2009

A Roundtable Discussion with Female UN Police Officers Deployed in Peacekeeping Operations: Investigating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Haiti, Liberia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.