Gender Considerations at the Maritime Task Force
Only 5% of the 627 peacekeepers on board UNIFIL’s Maritime Task Force (MTF) ships are women. However, the MTF, currently consisting of 4 vessels hailing from Bangladesh, Greece, Indonesia and Turkey and lead by Germany, is looking to change that.
The first step towards addressing gender issues and female representation began with the establishment of the MTF Military Gender Task Force in 2022. A few weeks ago, a first in a series of workshops took place on the Indonesian ship KRI Frans Kaisiepo-368. The aim was to provide a gender briefing and workshop for MTF members to raise awareness on the importance of gender integration in operations and women's participation in the MTF.
During the workshop the UNIFIL Gender Affairs Officer and other presenters aimed to increase the awareness of MTF members, especially the ship’s crew, to sensitize them on gender-related issues such as conflict-related sexual violence and the differential impact of conflict on women as compared to men. The workshop also emphasized our commitment as peacekeepers to ensure a safe environment on our premises, how to deal with the risks associated with women and girls, and how to avoid misconduct towards women and girls.
The workshop team was also able to tour the facilities of the ship available to female crew members and determine whether they met women-specific needs. In this regard the UNIFIL MTF ship KRI Frans Kaisiepo had already taken crucial steps to increase the number of female peacekeepers to eight persons by adapting and preparing accommodations for 10 women, showing the willingness to accommodate more female personnel for when their next crew arrives.
The KRI Frans Kaisiepo has decent and separate accommodations for men and women and several support facilities as well as national procedures for dealing with emergencies in a gender sensitive way. They have secured a women’s kit, including female sanitary products, on the ship to ensure that women’s specific needs are met in emergency situations. The ship also has an emergency plan in place with medical assistance and separate accommodations for men and women, including separate toilets.
This planning clearly indicates that UNIFIL’s Maritime Task Force is keen on integrating a gender component in its activities to ensure a smooth operation that is in line with the UN and UNIFIL’s goals related to gender. Furthermore, these efforts are in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in terms of women’s participation in all activities of peacekeeping and the prevention and protection from harm of women and children in peacekeeping.