In a picture taken on April 26, 2015, Afghanistan's first female pilot Niloofar Rahmani, 23, sits in a fixed-wing Afghan Air Force aviator aircraft in Kabul. With a hint of swagger in her gait, Afghanistan's first female pilot since the ouster of the Taliban is defying death threats and archaic gender stereotypes to infiltrate an almost entirely male preserve.

Participation of women is lacking, but much needed

Women, Peace and Security

January 2017, Number 08.01

“Women across the world face challenges to their status every day, but their underrepresentation is especially obvious in the security sector. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international organization of parliaments, women made up 22 percent of parliaments worldwide in 2015, just 6.6 percent of the heads of state were women and only 7.3 percent were the heads of government. In ministerial positions, which are often sent to participate in peace negotiations, women represent just 17 percent of the total, with the vast majority representing social affairs ministries focusing on education and family affairs. As a result, women are rarely present in state affairs, delegations, peace negotiations or post-conflict reconstruction efforts. This phenomenon is rooted in centuries of gender inequality and in an uneven progression of women’s rights under patriarchal societies that has greatly restricted opportunities for women to lead independent and proactive social, economic and political lives.

Few women can be found in state delegations, international negotiations or conference settings because women seldom reach governmental positions worthy of such appointments. Therefore, the likelihood of female representation at such events is marginal from the beginning…”

Excerpt from Annjulie Vester, “ Women, Peace and Security,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues  8, No. 1, 2017: 56-59.

Annjulie Vester served as an Intern at George C. Marshall Center - European Center for Security Studies working with the Seminar on Regional Security from September to December, 2016.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.