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Reducing Barriers for Uniformed Women in UN Peace Operations: DCAF’s contribution to the Elsie Initiative

27 May, 2020


Ensuring that uniformed women have equal opportunities to serve in UN Peace Operations is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. Gender equality is a fundamental right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In addition, growing evidence indicates that when women are able to meaningfully participate in peace operations, this increases operational effectiveness and the likelihood of the mission accomplishing its mandate. 

Women, however, have historically been severely underrepresented in peace operations: as of 2020, men still hold 93.2% of all peacekeeping positions. Despite numerous commitments by the UN and its member states within the framework of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, progress on improving the proportion of women has been slow. Achieving the goals set out in the UN’s Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy (2018-2028) calls for some major changes at the level of national security institutions, troop- and police-contributing countries, and the UN itself.

Launched by Canada in 2017, the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations seeks to develop and test a combination of innovative approaches to overcoming barriers to increasing women’s meaningful participation in peace operations. This resources provides an overview of the different contributions of DCAF to the Elsie Initiative up to 2021.