Finland is a leader in the participation of women in crisis management and more broadly in building peace and security. In international forums, the Finnish police emphasise the importance of recruiting female police officers both for the field and management positions.
Each year, Finland sends around 40 police officers to international missions, usually UN or EU peacekeeping or civilian crisis management operations. Crisis Management Centre CMC Finland trains, recruits and equips Finnish police officers for civilian crisis management missions in the world and acts as their state employer during the assignment.
Finland is a leader in the participation of women in crisis management and more broadly in building peace and security. Half of Finland’s civilian current crisis management experts are women – equality works well. By international comparison, the number of women is one of the highest in the world. The police are the largest professional group of civilian crisis management experts in Finland sent to the EU and UN.
By international comparison, police training in Finland is long and the skills are of a high calibre. We come out well in international benchmarking and are readily recruited for international missions.
Many Finnish women have served in management tasks in crisis management operations. The Finnish police have done long-term work to achieve the same for the police: now the police component (UNPOL) in the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) is headed by a female Finnish police officer.
In addition, we have female police officers in various demanding field tasks in UN and EU crisis management operations. Finnish female police officers have also worked in civilian tasks in the NATO ISAF operation. The Finnish police are continuously emphasising the importance of recruiting female police officers both for the field and management positions.
Issues of equality and non-discrimination play a key role in the mandates and operations of international actors like the EU, UN and OSCE. Finnish applicants aspiring to these tasks need to understand why and how equality is promoted in international arenas, and especially in conflicts.
Recent years have seen the Finnish police support the advancement of equality through practical means such as by encouraging and supporting police officers, and in particular female police officers, to apply for civilian crisis management operations. In addition, structural hurdles to recruiting female police officers have been removed by reducing the minimum police experience required to apply for the mandatory basic training in civilian crisis management from eight years to five in accordance with UN recommendations. Why is this important? Women have many roles and practice has shown that it is often more difficult for women with small children than men to gain experience of field operations in crisis areas. This means that women it is easier for women to apply for civilian crisis missions either before starting a family or when the children are older. However, progressing up the career ladder would require international experience.
The approach of the police is to understand the challenges facing the advancement of equality and to act with practical actions so as to make the best possible use of the skills of all our employees. We have been very successful on this front in international arenas and we will continue this work.
Happy Day of Equality!
Niina Koivisto National Police Board Twitter @KoivistoN
Caption: Finnish Satu Koivu is the first woman to hold a senior UN police post.