The United Nations’ five-year campaign to increase the number of female peacekeepers is steadily progressing in police units but lagging behind schedule in military units, IRIN says.
The campaign, which was launched by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August 2009, seeks to increase the percentage of female peacekeepers to 10 percent in military units and 20 percent in police units by 2014.
To date, only 2.3 percent of the U.N.’s 88,661 military peacekeepers are women. This is down from 2.18 percent in 2008, Alejandro Alvarez of the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations said, according to IRIN.
Meanwhile, 8.2 percent of the 13,221 U.N. police officers are women. The figure rose from 6.5 percent in April, Alvarez noted.
“The Secretary-General can set any number [of female peacekeepers], but … It depends on the will of the countries that are contributing the troops,” Alvarez explained to IRIN. “They say, ‘We don’t have enough female troops, so we cannot send them’; there is also always the case of countries having the women, and just not sending them, but that is an internal problem.”
Some troop-contributing countries refrain from sending women officers out of concern over their possible working conditions, Alvarez added.