UNIFIL’s Sector East organizes all-female patrol
Women peacekeepers from UNIFIL’s Sector East Command recently organized an all-female foot patrol and market walk in Souk al Khan, south-eastern Lebanon, with the aim of incorporating gender perspective while performing operational activities.
About a dozen peacekeepers from Indonesia, Nepal, Serbia and Spain participated in the hour-long activity in the area that falls under UNIFIL’s Indian Battalion (INDBATT).
The foot patrol and market walk provide opportunity to the local women of the area to approach the peacekeepers comfortably without breaking the cultural norm. They shared their issues and concerns, besides voicing their opinion on a number of issues, with the UNIFIL peacekeepers.
The patrol by members of UNIFIL’s Female Assessment/Analysis and Support Team (FAST), launched in August 2016, is one of several such all-female activities carried out by UNIFIL peacekeepers across its 1,060 square kilometre area of operation.
These types of activities also encourage the women of local communities to join the military and to support an initiative of the Lebanese Armed Forces, UNIFIL’s strategic partner, in recruiting more women in their ranks.
As of 28 February 2018, UNIFIL has 494 women peacekeepers, accounting for 4.7 per cent of about 10,500 troops. The Mission’s women peacekeepers made up 3.66 per cent two years ago and 3.56 per cent five years ago. Among UNIFIL’s 41 troop contributing countries, Ghana has the highest number of women in uniform (131), followed by France (61), Indonesia (49), Greece (29), Spain (27), Italy (25), Malaysia and Nepal (24 each).
Among the UN’s seven major peacekeeping operations with more than 4,000 troops, UNIFIL ranks second in terms of the percentage of female peacekeepers. Only the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has more percentage of female peacekeepers than UNIFIL.