Statement: Inclusive peace begins with women

UN Women Statement on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, 29 May 2023

On the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, we honour the courage of peacekeepers serving under the UN flag and appreciate the importance of their endeavours. We recognize the essential role that female peacekeepers play across UN missions, and their critical contribution to achieving lasting peace. 

Women peacekeepers enhance the operational effectiveness of UN missions through building increased trust with the communities they serve, improving protection responses and addressing women’s specific needs in conflict and post-conflict settings. Women peacekeepers also serve as role models, and beacons of hope for women and girls in conflict-affected areas, inspiring them to pursue active roles in public life.  Yet in 2022, women constituted only 8 per cent of all United Nations uniformed peacekeepers, still well short of the 2028 target for women serving in military contingents of 15 per cent, and 25 per cent for military observers and staff officers. Constraints and deterrents to their participation are shaped by negative social norms and institutional cultures that tolerate harassment, misconduct and other inappropriate behaviours.   

Through initiatives such as the Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations, UN Women continues to partner across the UN and Member States to foster inclusive environments that enable women’s equal participation in peacekeeping. To date, the Fund has invested US$17 million across a range of actions that identify and resolve barriers to women’s participation in peacekeeping, from the construction of gender-sensitive accommodation and facilities, to the development of gender policies and awareness campaigns.   

In close collaboration with the United Nations Department of Peace Operations, the Women Military Peace Operations Course continues to tackle the gender imbalance within the military components of United Nations peacekeeping, and to provide employment training on key gender and protection issues. In addition, through its training programmes for female military officers, UN Women has enabled over 1,000 women to be deployed as peacekeepers across UN missions.  

This year’s observance – under the theme “Peace begins with me”, focuses on our shared responsibility to contribute to peace. UN Women calls for collective efforts to invest in women’s active roles in peacekeeping to foster a more just, peaceful and resilient future together.