UNFICYP leadership participates in panel discussion on women in peacekeeping

4 Mar 2019

UNFICYP leadership participates in panel discussion on women in peacekeeping

In the lead up to International Women’s Day, UNFICYP’s Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Elizabeth Spehar, Force Commander Major General Cheryl Pearce and Senior Police Adviser, Ann-Kristen Kvilekval, participated in a panel discussion

organized by the Embassy of Norway and the High Commissions of Australia and Canada in Cyprus.

The event was held on 27 February 2019 in Nicosia and was attended by some 120 people, including political party representatives, members of the diplomatic community and civil society organizations, academics and university students. The discussion aimed at highlighting the challenges faced by women in peacekeeping operations as well the operational benefits to ensuring equal representation of men and women in peacekeeping missions. 

Several themes emerged in the course of the event—broadened ideas about what constitutes good leadership; barriers faced by women working in “non-traditional” sectors and ways to reduce them; challenges of balancing professional and family obligations as well as their disproportionate impact on women throughout their career, as well as the importance of mentorship to help support younger women in the workplace.

Furthermore, the discussion also highlighted the personal experiences of SRSG Spehar, Force Commander Pearce and SPA Kvilekval in their journey to leadership positions. 

In January 2019, UNFICYP became the only UN peacekeeping mission in history to be led by a female SRSG and have women leading both uniformed components.