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First All-Women UN Peacekeeping Unit is Formed of Only Egyptians

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First All-Women UN Peacekeeping Unit is Formed of Only Egyptians

Photo credit: MINUSMA/Harandane Dicko

For the first time in United Nations (UN) history, an all-female peacekeeping police force consisting of only Egyptian women has been deployed to assist in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) as of 17 January.

The team, which is headed by Major Rana Ghoarb, oversees on dirt roads used by civilians. These roads are most at risk of terrorist attacks conducted by armed groups.

Ghorab’s unit is also expected to play a crucial role in detecting and neutralizing improvised explosives, as one of the three teams of its kind established by the Egyptian UN police unit.

The establishment of this all-women’s force is a milestone for both the Egyptian unit in Mali and for senior leadership of the UN peacekeeping mission.

Photo credit: MINUSMA/Harandane Dicko

Ghorab expressed that her unit was “very proud to be the first women trained to mitigate the threat of improvised explosive devices,” adding that this will “empower women across Egypt and the Middle East.”

She continued, “this experience will also help us to show that women are capable of doing anything at all. We respect gender equality here, just as we do at the United Nations, which means giving women the same tasks as men. When we return home we will be proud of what we have been able to achieve.”

Since 1960, Egypt has been a major troop- and police-contributing country to the UN peacekeeping missions across the globe, with more than 3,000 men and women peacekeepers deployed across Africa.

According to the Cairo International Center for Conflict, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA), it is the seventh largest contributor overall, and the third largest contributor of police and military expertise.

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With a heart for radio and an appetite for culture, Mona is a writer and illustrator based in Cairo. At the Erasmus University Rotterdam, she obtained a BSc and MA in Media, Culture, and Society, while actively writing for the faculty magazine. After graduating, Mona was an academic advisor at the American University in Cairo, as well as Managing Director of a small, campus-based advertising firm. Gears shifting, her knack for cultural research took over - enter: Egyptian Streets. Mona’s focus is tapered to issues of identity politics, culture, and social architecture.

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