Women have important role in peace and conflict

Force commander United Nations Force in Cyprus Major General Cheryl Pearce, left, and her aide-de-camp, Captain Tresha Oates, on Operation Charter in Cyprus.

Women have important role in peace and conflict

It’s been 20 years since the United Nations resolved that women have an important role in the prevention of conflict and peacekeeping, and ADF women are working hard to ensure those principles are being applied.

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 – Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325) was signed on October 31, 2000.

The resolution reaffirmed the important role of women in peace negotiations, humanitarian responses and in post-conflict reconstruction.

It also stressed the importance of equal participation of women and their full involvement in all the efforts to maintain peace and security.

Captain Tresha Oates is deployed on Operation Charter supporting the United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) as the force commander’s aide-de-camp and the mission deputy gender affairs officer.

“UNSCR 1325 acknowledges the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women and girls,” Captain Oates said.

“As a part of that, I facilitate a military gender responsiveness action plan (GRAP) and the delivery and review of gender-related training across the mission.”

The GRAP promotes equal participation of women in the peacekeeping mission.

“In a multinational mission such as this, the level of understanding and the application of a gender perspective can vary greatly,” Captain Oates said.

“This is due to factors such as culture, language, levels of training, conscious and unconscious biases, and existing levels of gender parity within the particular contingents.”

Major General Cheryl Pearce, the ADF’s UNFICYP force commander, said mission gender focal points provided an opportunity to achieve equitable outcomes.

“In our mission, and in the UN more broadly, there is a focus on gender parity and inclusiveness,” she said.

“This offers a balanced gender approach as it is not just about females, and not just about males; it is about achieving an inclusive and diverse work environment.

“To enhance this, courses like the UN staff officers’ course and the ADF operational gender adviser course offer unique experiences that peacekeepers such as Captain Oates can take away with them and apply when on peacekeeping missions or any other style of mission.” 

Major General Pearce said she believed the framework for gender parity needed to be generated by senior ADF leaders through their actions and empowerment of others.

“If gender parity and inclusiveness can truly be achieved on home soil, it then provides the right conditions for our peacekeepers to emulate,” Major General Pearce said.


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