More women are needed in UN peace operations, both on the grounds of equality and performance. March 2020 survey data and empirical evidence from the Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network (EPON) highlight the importance of greater gender parity in UN peace operations for missions to successfully achieve their mandated tasks, stressing also the impact of context-specific obstacles and how the absence of enabling and supportive systems means that neither male nor female peacekeepers can perform at their best. Survey findings also point to the risk that the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda – including gender equality in peacekeeping operations – may be treated as a second-tier concern if set against other pressing issues. In the midst of the current Covid-19 pandemic and an evolving global recession – this risk is intensified. A continued political and financial commitment to increasing numbers is a prerequisite for achieving greater gender parity and equality. However, in terms of discourse, we need to move beyond having to prove the added value of female participation, which places an extra burden on those concerned.
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