The Critical Role of Women in UN Peacekeeping

Women are deployed in all areas – policemilitary and civilian – and have made a positive impact on peacekeeping environments, including in supporting the role of women in building peace and protecting women’s rights.

In 1993, women made up 1% of deployed uniformed personnel. In 2023, out of the more than 72,000 peacekeepers, women constituted nearly 7% of military contingents and 16% of formed police units. In 2021, 36% of justice and corrections government-provided personnel in peacekeeping missions were women. While the UN encourages and advocates for the deployment of women to uniformed functions, the responsibility for deployment of women in the police and military lies with Member States.

Today, the UN is actively working to bring more women into peacekeeping efforts around the world. The 2028 target for women in military contingents is 15%, with a goal of 25% for military observers and staff officers, and one in five in police units.

Learn more through UN Women in Peacekeeping

How Women Shape Peacekeeping

More women in peacekeeping means more effective peacekeeping. Here are a few things you may not know about the impact of women in the ranks.

  • Improve Operations and Performance

    Greater diversity and a broadened skillset means improved decision‐making, planning and results, leading to greater operational effectiveness and performance.

  • Access Communities

    Women peacekeepers are often better at accessing the population, including women and children — for example, by interviewing and supporting survivors of gender-based violence and violence against children — thereby generating critical information that would otherwise be difficult to reach.

  • Build Trust and Confidence

    Women peacekeepers are essential enablers to build trust and confidence with local communities, improving access and support for local women, especially in societies where there are restrictions for women speaking with men.

  • Prevent and Reduce Conflict

    Diversity in peacekeeping helps address the disproportionately negative effects that conflict has on the livelihoods of women and brings new perspectives and solutions to the table. By addressing the needs of women in conflict and post-conflict settings, women ex-combatants and child soldiers can be better reintegrated into civilian life.

  • Serves as Role Models

    Women peacekeepers serve as powerful mentors and role models for women and girls in post-conflict settings in the host community, setting examples for them to advocate for their own rights and pursue non‐traditional careers.