We need more women and more diversity

Major-General Jennie Carignan, Commander, NATO Mission Iraq, Canadian Armed Forces

 IWD 2020

In recognition of the devastating effect of armed conflict on women, NATO and the United Nations acknowledged that there is a strong link between women’s participation in military operations and building sustainable peace.

Women have access to tribunes and to segments of populations that are not normally accessible to men. For cultural reasons, their presence fosters access to community members and clearly to women, which represent 50% of the population amongst which soldiers operate. The presence of women can reduce the use of excessive force and thus help to address issues differently. Moreover, women’s contribution increases the chances of winning community support. This is why we need more women and more diversity, on the battlefield and elsewhere.

This is not about whom between men and women is better. Making room for one does not mean that the other disappears as this is far from being a zero-sum game. Being a soldier is rather about resilience, courage, agility, alertness and teamwork.

Men and women are different, but so are each man and each woman from one another. Men and women achieve better results when they work together. If we look around the world, the most stable and prosperous nations are those where women and men participate equally in their society, government and military. Diversity makes us more creative, resilient and stronger. This is why we need more women and more diversity, on the battlefield and elsewhere.

Women are not the only instigators of peace, and men do not have a monopoly on war.

We need men and women warriors who can also act as peace and capacity builders.

It’s about putting our forces together to help make a better world for our children and being #EachForEqual.


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