By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs
Toronto, Ontario — As the United Nations and militaries across the world work toward greater female representation in peacekeeping operations, a Canadian researcher is delving into this little-studied area to shed more light on the potential implications.
Andrea Lane, a PhD candidate at Dalhousie University, is on a year-long contract at the Canadian Forces College where she has been invited to teach as part of its National Security and Joint Command and Staff programmes.
As Director of Dalhousie’s Centre for the Study of Security and Development, she notes she has “long-standing research interests in Canadian defence policy and in particular women in the military.”
As she began research relating to Canada’s part in the UN mission in Mali – where Canadian operations ceased on August 31, 2019 – the federal government rolled out a pilot project announced in 2017 known as the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, which seeks to increase women’s meaningful participation in peace operations.
While she is generally supportive of efforts to make male-dominated militaries more open to women, Ms. Lane said current thinking on women’s role in peacekeeping may not be entirely beneficial.
“There are a whole bunch of assumptions that are largely untested about women as better communicators, as people who are more likely to tone down conflict versus add to conflict – women being seen as warmer and more…