Judge me on my abilities, not my gender: Cyprus mission Force Commander on being part of first all-female leadership team

2 August 2019

At the beginning of 2019, the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) became the first Mission in the history of the Organization to be led solely by women: Mission chief Elizabeth Spehar, senior police advisor Ann-Kristen Kvilekval, and Force Commander Major-General Cheryl Pearce.

Together, the three women oversee more than 1,000 military, police, and civilian staff supervising the ceasefire line, maintaining the buffer zone, and working to find a political solution to the ongoing differences between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

However, this development took place against the backdrop of an ongoing gender imbalance in UN peacekeeping: today, just five per cent of all uniformed personnel in the field are women.

Major-General Pearce, of Australia, told May Yaccoub, from UN News, that despite the milestone the all-female leadership of UNFICYP represents, the idea of ‘breaking a glass ceiling” is not something that she thinks about very often.

Audio Credit:
May Yaccoub/ UN News
Audio Duration:


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