By Luisa Ryan and Shannon Zimmerman
At the UN Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial Conference, Canada announced the launch of the Elsie Initiative on Women in Peace Operations. Through tailored technical support, the initiative aims to help troop-contributing countries recruit and retain female soldiers. It is one of the first initiatives to directly address the lack of female personnel at the deploying country level.
As one of the co-hosts of the 2017 UN Peacekeeping ministerial, the United States is in a strong position to partner in the work of the Elsie Initiative. By so doing, it can entrench the concept of gender parity in its current UN peacekeeping training programs and deployments and better lead knowledge-sharing efforts with partner militaries. The Elsie Initiative also gives the United States an opportunity to reinforce partnerships that enhance global security while bolstering its leadership in gender parity and UN reform.
Efforts such as the Elsie initiative to improve the effectiveness of peace operations will directly benefit US national interests by strengthening alliances and enabling recipient countries to take an increasing role in providing for collective and regional security.