The Nepal Army (NA) has pledged to raise the number of women soldiers sent to the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions as required by the UN.
NA currently has 5,073 personnel in 13 missions in 12 countries but just 202 (3.9 percent) of them are women.
The UN has already instructed the countries to send at least seven percent of women in peacekeeping missions by 2020 but the NA is far off the mark.
NA had sent women for the first time in almost 35 years of sending peacekeeping forces when it sent two female soldiers 18 years ago. Only 1,260 more have been sent since.
“We have problem to abide by the UN instruction as NA only has five percent women,” NA Spokesperson Brigadier General Bigyan Dev Pandey told Setopati. “We have been gradually increasing the number of female soldiers sent to the missions nevertheless.”
He claimed that not just Nepal but even European countries are struggling to immediately comply with the UN instruction due to their traditional structures, and have called the target ambitious. “There have even been suggestions that the UN’s target should be reviewed,” he added.
UN has instructed for raise in female participation in peacekeeping missions pointing that women can display their capabilities if there were right environment, and deeming that doing so would play a big role in women’s empowerment.
“Our female officers have already provided example that they can perform better than men in the missions,” Pandey claimed. “Women’s participation can also prevent complexities arising during peacekeeping.”
NA has already felt that women soldiers can play a greater role in building up relationship with commoners in the countries of mission. NA women have been effective in community programs including health camps during the missions.