At Last, Another Female UN Force Commander

November 11, 2018

November 11, 2018: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently announced the appointment of Australian Brigadier Cheryl Pearce, on promotion to major general, as the next force commander of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP). It’s a significant decision not only for Australia, but also for the international community.

When Pearce takes up the new role, she will be only the second women to be appointed force commander of a UN peacekeeping mission in the organisation’s 70-plus-year history. Her appointment comes at a time when Guterres is making an effort to improve gender parity across the organisation, with mixed results.

While the UN has made improvements to women’s representation in its New York headquarters, progress is much slower in the field. Women make up 21% of UN peacekeeping personnel, yet they constitute only around 4% of the overall military component.

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