As part of an online discussion held by Polish, Canadian and Irish experts on the importance of tasks carried out by women throughout peacekeeping, stabilisation and humanitarian missions, Poland’s representative stressed her international peers’ efficiency in working with local female populations.
Drawing from her experience collected during missions in Kosovo and Lebanon, Poland’s representative to the debate Cpt. Katarzyna Rzadkowska said that uniformed women excelled in reaching out to local, predominantly female populations, whereas male soldiers, due to religious or cultural conditioning found it difficult.
The issue of disparity in the male to female ratio within participants in peaceful missions was tackled. It turns out that the number of women in peacekeeping missions continues to be lower than that of men, which is the case for Poland and other countries taking part in UN missions.
Women constitute just a couple of percent of the entire personnel of NATO missions, whereas in policing missions the ratio is one woman to ten men. Cpt. Rzadkowska stressed that in the event of patting a woman down, only another woman is authorised to do so. If a given contingent lacks women, such a procedure must be skipped.
The conference on the importance of women in peaceful missions was co-organised by the Polish Ministry of Defence Council for Women. Among others, the Council is active in implementing the UN Security Council resolution number 1325 of 2000. The document delineates the needs of women and children in regions where armed conflict ended. According to the UN, constant peace must be implemented in such places and women are just one of the pillars of this undertaking.