Woman First, Soldier Second: Taboos and Stigmas Facing Military Women in UN Peace Operations

On October 20th, IPI together with the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations cohosted the launch of IPI’s policy paper entitled “Woman First, Soldier Second: Taboos and Stigmas Facing Military Women in UN Peace Operations,” authored by Dr. Lotte Vermeij, Senior Advisor to the Norwegian Armed Forces. This policy paper is part of IPI’s Women in Peace Operations Project, which is supported by the Government of Canada.

Taboos and stigmas significantly impact the deployment of military women to UN peace operations. Despite efforts to increase the participation of women uniformed peacekeepers, military women continue to face a wide range of taboos and stigmas that form barriers to their inclusion and successful deployment in UN peace operations. Being confronted with persistent taboos and stigmas on the individual and community level, as well as within national defense structures and UN peace operations, can have far-reaching consequences for military women before, during, and after deployment. Based on these experiences this paper highlights some of the key taboos and stigmas that impact military women:

  • At the individual and community levels;
  • Within their national defense structures (pre-deployment); and
  • During deployments to UN peace operations.

Read the report>>

Welcoming Remarks:
Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President

Opening Remarks:
Ms. Jody Thomas, Deputy Minister of the Department of National Defence, Canada

Speakers:
Dr. Lotte Vermeij, Author of “‘Woman First, Soldier Second’: Taboos and Stigmas Facing Military Women in UN Peace Operations, and Senior Advisor to the Norwegian Armed Forces
Major General Kristin Lund, Former Head of Mission, UN Truce Supervision Organization, and Force Commander, UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus
Wing Commander Llani Kennealy, Military Liaison Officer—Peacekeeping, UN Women
Major Kristy Hudson, Military Training Officer, UN Department of Peace Operations
Lt. Col. Nomthandazo Ditire, South African Army Officer, UN Department of Peace Operations

Moderator:
Ms. Gretchen Baldwin, IPI Senior Policy Analyst, Women, Peace, and Security