NATION

Women Peacekeepers: Life, Challenges

That’s probably one of the most interesting question given the growing number of women working in what once was a male-dominated field What’s life like being a wom­an and serving
25 Jun 2018 11:02
Women Peacekeepers: Life, Challenges
Back from left: Fiji Police Inspector Ruci Nasemira, Flight Lieutenant of the Royal New Zealand Airforce Libby Reardon and Police Inspector Aseri Nakibo. Front from left: Republic of the Military Forces Corporal Lavenia Marama, Private Tololea Tuinanumea and Sergeant Karalaini Maravou during lunch for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Republic of Fiji Military Forces and United Nations to celebrate the contribution of women to peacekeeping operations. It was at the New Zealand Residence on June 22, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar

That’s probably one of the most interesting question given the growing number of women working in what once was a male-dominated field

What’s life like being a wom­an and serving in war-torn territories? Bombs exploding a distance away, a shoot­ing at close range. It can be terrify­ing but it’s all in a day’s work. The goal is to protect citizens.

These experiences were ex­changed among women at the New Zealand High Commissioner’s resi­dence to celebrate women in peace­keeping on Friday.

Ruci Nasemira, the Police Inspec­tor at Lami Police Station, said: “Serving in a foreign country where you have to understand their culture, understand their language and be able to adapt into their situ­ation for you to be accepted as a peace-keeper.”

She served in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Juba from 2012 to 2013.

Her advice to women who have an interest in peacekeeping is they should be allowed to pursue their dreams because it is an honourable service and career.

Flight Lieutenant of the Royal New Zealand Airforce Libby Rear­don said it was hard to find women in the higher ranks in the military, which could serve as role models and mentors.

“Papua New Guinea for example, there highest rank is a major. It’s hard for women in the community to look at that as a viable career op­tion if they want to achieve leader­ship.”

Flight Lieutenant Reardon said that women should support each other if they wanted to succeed.

She is also a PhD student at The University of the South Pacific.

She said the event last Friday brought them together and enabled them to share experiences and chal­lenges that can help them progress.

Growing interest from women

RFMF chief-staff-officer co-ordina­tion/press release officer Captain Eroni Duaibe said: “The RFMF has got an obligation under the UN mandates for us to provide at least 10 per cent of the diplomat quota to be women. We have been successful at that.

“However there is still a mileage for us to get to, in terms of our pro­vision towards women that are par­ticipating in peacekeeping.”

Captain Duaibe said there was a growing interest in Fijian women joining peacekeeping missions and wear uniforms. He called this a “paradigm shift” for the changing ideology of Fijian women.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: sheenam.chandra@fijisun.com.fj

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