In an attempt to tackle gender bias in areas where women are most vulnerable, Canada is stepping up with a strategy that will allow more women to be a part of peace support mission in conflict zones across the world.
The decision was taken in light of the expected peacekeeping initiatives in the coming weeks. Ottawa certainly has its priorities straight with a comprehensive action plan on peace, security, and women.
Chrystia Freeland, Minister for Foreign Affairs called the strategy a “feminist foreign policy” designed to curb the “angry reactionary movements” held in the wake of gender bias.
“We must take courageous action towards gender equality, especially where women are most vulnerable…It matters because where women, in all their diversity, are included in our collective security, everyone is safer,” said Freeland.
The government has allotted a sum of $17.1 million to fund the gender initiatives taken to support the participation of girls and women in the collective efforts to avert and resolve conflicts.
The funds earmarked to the program will be used for training Canadian female police officers to serve in UN peace missions, promote the inclusion and role of women in global peace building, and reducing gender inequality in UN operations.
The investment will mainly support peace building initiatives in Columbia, Haiti, and Mali – the places named as possible peace deployment locales for Canada.
Another important element of the plan is the crack down on sexual assaults and abuse by peacekeepers and security personnel. This strategy is a follow-up of the plan first expressed in 2011 by the Conservatives.
“There can be no impunity for these crimes. Not for soldiers. Not for civilians. Not for those sent to keep the peace or provide assistance,” said Freeland.
The plan comes at a time when Ottawa is finalising the decision to deploy around 150 police officers and 600 soldiers in the upcoming peace building missions.