Launch of the Senior Women Talent Pipeline (SWTP)
To address the gender gap in Peace Operations, the SWTP was created in 2014 with funding from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Japan, and Sweden.
The purpose of the Pipeline is to have a readily accessible talent pool of qualified female candidates for senior field mission vacancies in UN Peace Operations. It was established as an action point from the 2013 study “Bridging the Civilian Gender Gap in UN Peace Operations”, which suggests necessary procedures to attract qualified women to UN Peace Operations.
In 2014 a public global call was initiated through Note Verbales requesting Member States to nominate female candidates for Director-level positions in peacekeeping and special political missions in the areas of Political Affairs, Civil Affairs, Rule of Law and Security Institutions, Public Information, and Mission Support yielding more than 750 applicants from 92 countries. Following the call, candidates were screened for suitability and the initial pool was selected by an inter-departmental board. Pipeline candidates were directed to suitable vacancies while receiving support on preparing their applications throughout the assessment process. Candidates selected were additionally tracked into pre-deployment training, such as the Senior Mission Leaders Course, and received limited post-deployment support also known as mentorship. About 10 deployments were made throughout this initiative.
A second call for membership launched in 2017, received 1,700 applications from a varied audience. As a result, 94 new candidates were added to the pipeline, which is now comprised of 244 women with profiles in the above-mentioned areas. Up to now, 23 women have been selected for senior field positions. While the current pipeline has an impressive breadth of talent, additional interested applicants are being sought to meet the growing demand for applicants in keeping with the Secretary-General's announced programme of action to reach gender parity in international staff positions across the Secretariat, including in peacekeeping missions. (Please note that these are statistics from the 2014 and 2017 intakes, and do not apply to the 2019 call for membership).
The new call for nominations and/or applications for the Senior Women Talent Pipeline was launched on June 1st with the objective to create a competitive pool of senior women who are qualified and ready to undertake senior positions in the United Nations’ Peacekeeping and Special Political missions in the following fields:
- Effective leadership skills
- Ability to manage large, diverse, and multi-cultural teams, as well as budgets
- Knowledge of the peacekeeping operating environment, political judgement, and physical and mental stamina
- Candidates should have an advanced university degree (Masters or equivalent) in a relevant area and fifteen years of professional experience
- A first level university degree (e.g. bachelor’s degree) in combination with seventeen years of relevant work experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree
- Candidates should be fluent in English, French, and/or Arabic as many positions in Peacekeeping Operations are located in Arabic-speaking or French-speaking countries
(Please note that most directors in Peacekeeping Operations serve in non-family duty stations).
SWTP Induction Course
By collaborating with Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), an induction course is offered to SWTP members to increase the participants’ competitiveness when applying for senior positions with UN field missions. The course informs participants on the context of UN field missions and provides knowledge and tools that allow members to enhance their performance. Additionally, it ensures and describes senior field positions to the extent to which members are capable of efficiently completing. The course further encourages a network of women who are interested and eligible for senior positions within UN field missions. Yearly notifications are sent out to inform members about when and where the course will take place.
In February 2018, 32 Senior Women Talent Pipeline members gathered in Sweden for a one week learning programme developed by the UN’s Department of Operational Support and the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA). Candidates were hosted by the Swedish Armed Forces International Centre (SWEDINT) where they received training in leadership, strategic communications, protection of civilians, mediation, and other issues relevant to Peace Operations. The objective of the week is to prepare the SWTP members for potential field deployments. Two additional induction tranings have been delivered to members in October 2018 and March 2019. Given how beneficial this five-day familiriazation traning on UN Peace Operations has been, the SWTP aims to conduct a similar induction training on a twice-yearly basis.
The goal of gender parity at all levels in the UN is a commitment that is now two decades old and is reflective of core values that are as old as the Organization itself. While fundamentally a right, parity is increasingly necessary to the UN’s efficiency, impact and credibility. Greater diversity is directly correlated in both public and private sectors with significant gains in operational effectiveness and efficiency. This is particularly important as the UN is being asked to do more with less while increasing impact in all quarters. Across the three pillars, the impact of an inclusive workforce on the UN’s ability to deliver on its mandates is clear. In the area of development, research shows that bringing more women into the labor force would unlock trillions of dollars for developing economies. In human rights, there is no greater protection mechanism for women’s rights than empowerment. And in peace and security women’s meaningful participation has a direct impact on the sustainability of peace, an assertion that is quantifiable. Moreover, for the UN, parity is critical to its credibility as a standard bearer, is an imperative requested by Member States and is reflected in a number of GA resolutions.