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Increasing the number of women in UN peacekeeping operations could help reduce sexual assault allegations against UN troops, improve the standing of women in peacekeeping locations, and, studies suggest, lead to better peacekeeping outcomes. CGD promoted a new mechanism to increase the proportion of female UN peacekeepers involving payment for results. In 2017, Canada proposed turning the idea into a pilot scheme.
A few months ago, I wrote a note calling for financial incentives to increase the number of women in (military) peacekeeping operations from its current level of about 4 percent closer to the UN Security Council target of about 20 percent. This post includes some more thoughts about the idea, around what to use financial incentives for, and how to fund that.
It would take the UN 337 years to reach gender parity in peacekeeping operations. We have an idea about how to speed up this progress, but before that, it’s important to understand the very real and evidence-based reasons why more women peacekeepers would be a good thing.
At present rates of progress, it will take more than three centuries for the UN to see the same number of women as men in peacekeeping operations, even though evidence suggests that increasing the proportion of women in operations will improve the success rate of peacekeeping missions and reduce levels of sexual misconduct. One method to speed up the march to equality could be financial incentives directed at troop contributing countries. These could significantly increase the proportion of women peacekeepers, potentially for as little as $77 million per year.
Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) recently introduced a bill that tackles an important subject in global security: the under-representation of women in the world’s security forces and, in particular, United Nations peacekeeping operations. That's a great step, but with a bit more money to provide direct incentives and the support of our allies, the United States might be able to bring the percentage of women in UN Peacekeeping Operations up four-fold.