October 2010 marked the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UN Resolution 1325). The unanimous passage of UN Resolution 1325 recognized, for the first time in the history of the Security Council, the link between gender equality, peace, and security. The 10th anniversary of this landmark resolution heralds a move toward implementing UN Resolution 1325 in peace and security operations to improve operational effectiveness. Today, gender equality is recognized as a force multiplier in operational planning and execution strategies. Yet when military planners and policy makers credit what has increased effectiveness in peacekeeping and security operations, they rarely, if ever, mention gender equality. Nevertheless, recent efforts made by UN peacekeeping missions and NATO to implement UN Resolution 1325, show that security actors are more successful when they take into account the different needs, status, and experience of men and women in the local population, and when peace and security missions include women in executing operations and decision-making. A growing body of evidence from the field reveals that the inclusion of women enhances operational effectiveness in three key ways: improved information gathering, enhanced credibility, and better force protection. Empirical evidence underscores the fact that attention to the different needs, interests, and experiences of men and women can enhance the success of a variety of security tasks, to the benefit of both civilians and soldiers.
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