UN Sends All-Female U.N. Peacekeeping Unit to Liberia

The United Nations is sending its first-ever all-female peacekeeping force to Liberia.

The United Nation’s first all-female peacekeeping force — made up of 105 Indian policewomen — is set to deploy to the troubled west African country of Liberia, an official said Friday. The team, which has been training since September, leaves for Liberia on Sunday, said Abhishek Dayal, a spokesman for India’s Central Reserve Police Force, which contributed the officers.

[…]

“Women police are seen to be much less threatening, although they can be just as tough as men. But in a conflict situation, they are more approachable and it makes women and children feel safer,” Seema Dhundia, a unit commander, said recently.

They are also less likely to be taken seriously as authority figures, especially in the developing world, and might be more likely to spark violence as a result. A Liberian man is likely to take orders from a woman as a challenge to his manhood.

This reminds me once again of a sketch Bill Murray did about a quarter century ago on “Saturday Night Live” when draft registration was being reinstated and there was a debate about whether to include women. He said it was a swell idea and that, in fact, we should draft only women. That way, if we got into war with the Soviets and lost, we could rub their noses in their getting beaten by “a bunch of women.” Conversely, if we lost, we could just say, “Big deal. So you beat a bunch of women.”

via Jessica Valenti

FILED UNDER: Africa, Gender Issues, United Nations, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DC Loser says:

    Are you sure? The Liberians, after all, elected a woman as President just recently.

  2. James Joyner says:

    True enough. But that’s still a very different thing than a one-on-one confrontation.

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    I haven’t been able to find any word on whose idea this is. I wonder if this might not be a response to the criticisms of sexual misconduct by UN peacekeepers.

  4. Mark says:

    I heard the same thing Dave is referring to – the women are being sent in because the male UN peacekeepers have a nasty habit of raping the women and kids they are supposed to be protecting.

  5. David Harris says:

    Are you sure that was Bill Murray? That sounds very much like something A. Whitney Brown would say.

    Very humorous, nonetheless.