The Women in Blue Helmets tells the story of the first all-female police unit deployed by India to the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia in January 2007. Lesley J. Pruitt investigates how the unit was originated, developed, and implemented, offering an important historical record of this unique initiative. Examining precedents in policing in the troop-contributing country and recent developments in policing in the host country, the book offers contextually rich examination of all-female units, explores the potential benefits of and challenges to women’s participation in peacekeeping, and illuminates broader questions about the relationship between gender, peace, and security.
Lesley J. Pruitt is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
“Lesley J. Pruitt explores one of the most important and controversial developments in the Women, Peace, and Security agenda over the past decade—the deployment of an Indian all-female formed police unit to Liberia. In exploring this unit from the perspectives of both the peacekeepers on the mission and the policy makers in the UN, Pruitt provides a compelling assessment of the importance of making progress toward gender equality in peacekeeping missions and the challenges that remain toward realizing such progress.”—Kyle Beardsley, Associate Professor of Political Science, Duke Unversity
“Pruitt’s The Women in Blue Helmets is a powerfully original analysis of the first and longest-standing all-female formed police unit (FFPU), one of the most talked about and photographed ‘success stories’ of gender-mainstreaming as a global policy to date. Many have wanted to rush to conclusions about the relative (in)effectiveness of having all-female units on the ground without investigating the historical, cultural, and economic context. Pruitt’s thoughtful narrative research provides a necessary first step in a more nuanced understanding and is important reading for scholars and practitioners engaged in theoretical or policy debates about women’s capacity in peacekeeping and the future of gender mainstreaming as a global norm.”—Natalie Hudson, author of Gender, Human Security, and the UN: Security Language as a Political Framework for Women