Furthering Female Participation and Representation in Security Sector Institutions
Under the auspices of the Female Officers Support Network (FOSN), UNPOL and the Corrections Advisory Unit (CAU) in collaboration with the UNMIL Office of the Gender Advisor organized a conference at UNMIL headquarters early last December under the theme Mentoring for Transformation.
Some 46 UNMIL female Police and Corrections officers attended the conference aimed at revitalizing the network’s advocacy for gender mainstreaming and professionalization of female officers in counterpart national institutions. The concept perceives of female UNPOL and CAU officers as role models for their counterparts in Liberian security agencies, including the Liberia National Police (LNP), Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) and the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation (BCR).
Addressing participants at the conference, UNMIL Police Commissioner Gregory Hinds underscored the important role women play in the security sector. He challenged UNMIL female officers to set standards worthy of emulation by their national counterparts. Hinds urged FOSN to advance the mentor-mentee programme, which was launched in March 2014 at a ceremony marking the International Women’s Day to help establish a cadre of professional females.
FOSN was initiated by the UN Police Commissioner in July 2013 as a platform for mentoring female officers of the LNP, BIN and the BCR in an effort to advance their professional role in organizational processes.
To advance the initiative, female UNPOL officers have increasingly been appointed into leadership positions, including two regional commanders and several team leaders. There has also been an increase in the number of female UNPOLs deployed in the regions, thus setting an example for Liberian security agencies.
The CAU and its national counterpart, the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation, subsequently came on board as FOSN continued to push for gender mainstreaming in the recruitment, retention, promotion and specialization of female officers in Liberia’s security institutions. To that end, FOSN is engaged in various mentoring activities including joint meetings, training workshops and the mobilization of female officers posted in the sectors. It is also supporting its national counterpart institutions establish vibrant female participation in organizational processes including leadership and management.