Women Signal Officers: Vital assets for field missions

Monday, 08 May 2017

Entebbe | DPKO/DFS

The presence of women in the military plays a vital role in peace operations, including raising awareness of women’s issues in theatres of action, helping to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse of local populations, and improving operational effectiveness.

The impact of women has been cited in the Report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations on uniting our strengths for peace: politics, partnership and people, yet the most recent statistics reveal that only 4 per cent of military personnel deployed in UN missions are women.

In order to empower women who serve as military and police signals (Information and Communication Technology Specialists), the UN Signals Academy in the UN Regional Service Centre at Entebbe established a programme – Women’s Outreach Course

The course responds to Security Council resolution 2122 (2013), which encourages troops and police-contributing countries to increase the percentage of women military and police in deployments to UN peacekeeping operations. It is also in line with Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals to achieve gender equality and women's empowerment.

Participants are trained on the installation, operation, and maintenance of UN-owned equipment; standard operating procedures; gender issues; and the larger UN operational environment. This prepares them to better serve in a peacekeeping context and to provide enhanced military capacity to the Communications and Information Technology Sections in field missions as well as to ensure that key elements of the military and police in the mission work together in a coordinated manner. 

To date, the programme has facilitated two courses, training 75 participants (55 military and 20 police) from 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. In 2016, seven per cent (87 out of a total of 1,222) of the signals personnel trained at the Academy were women.