The Minister of Defence, Alhaji Muhammed Badaru, has reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to bridge gender gaps and ensure parity in the Nigerian Armed Forces. Badaru gave the assurance at a one-day gender mainstreaming conference with the theme “Building Capacity Through Gender Mainstreaming to Meet Security Challenges.” It was organized by the Defence Headquarters on Thursday, November 9, 2023, in Abuja. He said that the government had shown commitment to addressing barriers to recruitment and career progression for females in the Ministry of Defence and its various departmental agencies, including the armed forces.
Badaru added that the Ministry of Defence, under his supervision, will continue to place emphasis on the abolition of gender gaps and enhance mainstreaming towards achieving peace and security for the nation. He said that taking into consideration the impact of gender mainstreaming on training, deployment, and operational efficiency of military personnel, it is important to reiterate that the present administration is ready for initiatives such as this to reposition the armed forces to better tackle the security challenges facing the nation.
Women play important roles in conflict situations.
Commending the deliberate effort of the current leadership of the armed forces in adopting the gender mainstreaming policies in its military operations, the minister said that it is on record that the Nigerian Armed Forces have surpassed the recommended benchmark placed by the UN regarding female participation in peacekeeping operations. He added that the development has continued to improve the operational efficiency of the Nigerian troops in various theaters of operation both within and outside the country.
Also, he revealed that it is instructive that the effort by the Nigerian Armed Forces is in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which recognises the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of complete peace negotiations, peacekeeping, and humanitarian response in post-conflict reconstruction. Badaru said that the UN resolution called for equal participation and full involvement of women in all efforts in the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.
Bature states the importance of women in conflict resolution.
According to him, the resolution required countries to develop their action plans to identify, evaluate, and control efforts to achieve the objective of peace and security through effective gender policies and initiatives, which the Nigerian Armed Forces have taken as a challenge. He said that the outcome of these policies and additional initiatives had increased the roles, perspectives, and opportunities afforded women in the armed forces. It was reported that the conference was declared open by the First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who was represented by the wife of the vice president, Hajia Nana Shettima.
Meanwhile, in her research, Elizabeth A. Bature stated that the importance of women in conflict prevention and resolution, peace-building, and post-war rehabilitation cannot be overstated. According to her, studies on gender equality, development, and security suggest that sustainable peace and successful long-term development are linked to gender equality policies. She said that feminist activists and scholars, as well as a series of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) on women, peace, and security, have long established the relevance of a gender perspective in military affairs, combat, and peace operations. Additionally, women can provide specific competencies and perspectives that improve the conduct of operations. Women in combat units clearly have the potential to increase the information-gathering and analysis capability of units.
There are more advantages in having women in units.
“Gaining access to local women not only allows a unit to develop a better understanding of local conditions and culture, but it can also improve the unit’s relationship with the community, and its perceived legitimacy, and improve force protection of troops in the area of operations,” she writes. However, despite growing international recognition of the UNSCR 1325 as a global norm, the participation of women in combat operations in the Nigerian Armed Forces on the ground implementation has been slow and arduous due to the conjecture that women lack the physical ability to withstand the strains of war and the extreme violence that goes on the battlefront, and combat operations in general.
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