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Out of 6,178 UN Peacekeepers from India, Women Represents only 1.31%

Kingson Chingakham

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Surprised with the figure? It is true. As on July 31, 2019, according to the data from the United Nation (UN) Peacekeeping Force, India contributed a total of 6,178 UN Peacekeepers. Out of which, only 81 were female and 6,097 were male. In comparison to the overall total military and police contribution from all the UN Peacekeeping member countries, there are currently 81,453 male peacekeepers and 5,243 female peacekeepers. Therefore, overall, women in UN peacekeeping comprises of only 6.43%.

Coming to the countries with the highest female contribution in the UN Peacekeeping, Ethiopia tops the list. As on July 31, 2019, Ethiopia contributed 634 female UN Peacekeeping Force out of the total contribution of 7,060 UN Peacekeepers. This is followed by Rwanda with 428 female UN Peacekeepers out of 6,520 from the country. The third spot is again occupied by another African Country – Ghana. Ghana contributed 397 female UN Peacekeepers out of the total 2,778 UN Peacekeepers.

Nepal is the only South Asian Country which has done better than India. Nepal contributed 256 female peacekeepers out of the total 5,674 UN Peacekeepers.

Summary of India’s Contribution by Post and Gender

There are five categories in which UN Peacekeepers from India are represented:

  1. Contingent Troops.
  2. Experts on Mission.
  3. Formed Police Units (FPUs): An FPU consists of approximately 140 Police Officers, trained and equipped to act as a cohesive unit capable of accomplishing policing tasks that individual Police Officers could not address. Well-trained FPUs can operate even in “high-risk” environments (source: UN Peacekeeping).
  4. Individual Police.
  5. Staff Officers.

So, how are women from India represented in the above five categories? The Breakdown is given below:

  1. Under Contingent Troops, from India, there are 48 female and 5,810 male peacekeepers. Women representation is only 0.82% in this category.
  2. Under Experts on Mission, there are five female and 33 male peacekeepers. Women representation is 15.15% in this category.
  3. Under FPUs, there are 7 female and 147 male UN Peacekeepers. Women representation is 4.76% in this category.
  4. Under Individual Police, there are 7 female and 16 male UN Peacekeepers. Women representation is 43.75% in this category although the overall strength of representation is less.
  5. Under the Staff Officers, there are 14 female and 91 male UN Peacekeepers. Women representation is 15.38% in this category.
In 1960, women serving in the Indian Armed Forces Medical Services were interviewed by UN Radio before being deployed to the Republic of the Congo (Source: UN Peacekeeping)

Sending of peacekeepers under the above categories is the discretion of the respective member countries. Therefore, even though the UN Peacekeeping is working on to improve the involvement of women in the force, if the respective countries do not send women, then the UN becomes helpless. There are no reservation or quota for women. India needs to work on sending women contingent troops. It is very important to increase the number of uniformed women soldiers.

Mission Wise Representation of Women from India

Currently, India is engaged in 10 missions of the UN Peacekeeping. We will analyze the representation of women in each mission from India (the data is till July 31, 2019. UN Peacekeeping releases updated data on monthly basis.Therefore, the figures might change in the following months).

1. United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH): No Indian women are represented in this mission. Although, India contributed a total of 14 male Peacekeepers.

2.United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO): Again, no Indian women are represented in this mission. There are only 3 male Peacekeepers from India.

3.United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA): No women are represented from India. There are a total of 4 male peacekeepers from India in this mission.

4.United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM): No women representation from India. Only one male peacekeeper from India is in this mission.

In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a UN peacekeeping mission (Source: UN Photo/Christopher Herwig)

5.United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO): No women representation from India. There are two male peacekeepers from India in this mission.

6.United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP): There is a total of six Indian UN Peacekeepers in this mission out of which two of them are female peacekeepers.

7.United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF): A total of 189 UN Peacekeepers are represented in three categories from India in this mission. A total of four women peacekeepers are represented in contingency troop and staff officers.

8.United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL): A total of 781 UN Peacekeepers are represented from India in this mission. However, there are only five female contingency troop and four female staff officers from India.

9.United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS): A total of 2,401 UN Peacekeepers from India participated in this mission. This is the second-largest mission for the Indian UN Peacekeepers. There are 25 female peacekeepers from India represented in four categories- Contingency Troop (13 women), Experts on Mission (2 women), Individual Police (5 women) and Staff officers (5 women).

10.United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO): This is the largest mission for the Indian UN Peacekeepers. There is a total of 2,777 UN Peacekeepers from India in this mission. With 38 female peacekeepers from India, this is the mission with the highest women representation. Also, this is the only mission with 7 female FPUs. Apart from this, there are 29 female contingency troops, three female expert on mission and two female staff officers.

Need of More Women UN Peacekeepers

In January 2019, out of the total 6,430 UN Peacekeepers from India, only 43 of them were women. The number rose to 81 in July 2019. We need to definitely work on improving the numbers of female UN Peacekeepers. We talk about women empowerment. We talk about gender inclusivity in the army and military. If India succeeds in improving the numbers, it will stand out in the global platform and can become a role model. Women Peacekeepers have proven every time that they can do anything on the ground. Let us sum up with the following two beautiful quotes –

Personal Blog. For details please mail me at observersindia@gmail.com

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