With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for women in the military and in peace-keeping and peace-making.

Women have proved they can perform the same police, military and civilian roles to the same standards and under the same difficult conditions as their male counterparts. They are also key agents in mediation and peace-making.

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A number of soldiers in uniforms of the Polish army
Pawel Horazy / Fotolia

Currently, most EU countries have policies that either prohibit or restrict women’s participation in the military, especially with regard to combat roles and hostile environments. Only 11 EU countries allow women in front-line combat positions – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Sweden. In 2015, women accounted for 10.8 % of military personnel in NATO armed forces.

The EU has made significant progress in recent decades on fostering equality between women and men and it has committed itself to increasing female labour market participation and equal economic independence through its endorsement of the strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019.

The EU has also signed landmark United Nations Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. The 2015 Global Study on the implementation of Resolution 1325 found that women’s involvement in peace processes increases the probability of a peace agreement lasting at least two years by 20 % and the probability of it lasting 15 years by 35 %. The aim is now to involve women in decision-making processes and in all fields of peacekeeping and increase by 40 % the percentage of women in the EU’s internal decision-making mechanisms and management positions in such missions by 2019.

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