News / Middle East

Women Play Increasingly Vital Role in Peace Missions

Women Play Increasingly Vital Role in Peace Missionsi
X
March 06, 2013
Along the border of Israel and Lebanon, female peacekeepers are playing a vital role in the United Nations unit that patrols the area. Paige Kollock looks at the part women play in international military monitoring efforts
TEXT SIZE - +
Paige Kollock

Along the border of Israel and Lebanon, female peacekeepers are playing a vital role in the United Nations unit that patrols the area.
 

Captain Annie - French soldiers don’t use their last names - is examining Gomo, a working security dog from France who lives at a base of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
 

The captain is a veterinary specialist and one of approximately 30 women who live on this French base of 700 peacekeepers, keeping the border secure and assisting the Lebanese government.

 

She says she doesn’t consider herself a ‘female’ peacekeeper, but rather, a member of UNIFIL. But her feminine traits do sometimes help.

 

"The secret is to keep the smile and never raise the voice and a little bit of softness and communication and patience is always good," she said.

 

UNIFIL maintains a peacekeeping force of more than 11,000 in southern Lebanon, with troops contributed from 37 countries. In recent years, the United Nations has been working to deploy women in greater numbers.

 

Major Akriti Sharma is from Jammu and Kashmir and works to assess the security environment in Lebanon.

 

"As we all know, women are known for their compassion for their warmth, for their understanding. Being women in uniform it adds on to these factors obviously, and apart from this, we can have better access to the women and they feel more comfortable with us, we can act as a role model," Sharma said.

 

Women in UNIFIL serve on both the civilian and military staffs. Their roles range from military strategy to teaching French to local Lebanese school children. Male and female peacekeepers live together, work together and play sports together.

 

Squadron Leader and force commander Eric of the French battalion says women play a stabilizing role in an unstable area.

 

"Here in South Lebanon they have a more important place than in other missions. Women have always been peacemakers, or have been able to bring some peace, some calm, some serenity, and in this mission that’s an important quality," Eric said.

 

Although most Lebanese in southern Lebanon hold conservative views on gender roles, UNIFIL’s female peacekeepers say they get along well with the local community - men and women alike.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

Why Europe and the US may be "whistling past the graveyard?" More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid