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About Kristen Cordell

Kristen Cordell is a former Analyst for the RAND Corporation in Washington DC, where she specialized in Gender and Nation Building. She currently works as a consultant on Sexual Violence and Security Sector Reform for MONUC in Kinshasa.

Articles by Kristen Cordell

This week's editor

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Liberia: Women Peacekeepers and Human Security

In her second report from Liberia Kristen Cordell looks at the impact of the all female Indian police unit working in Monrovia.

The deployment of female peacekeepers has recently become recognized as not simply "desirable, but an operational imperative." In the words of Rachel Mayanja UN Assistant Secretary-General, "without women's participation in peace efforts there can be no peace and security."

One highly visible step to including women in peacekeeping operations has been the all- women police unit serving as part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). 130 Indian policewomen currently make up the Formed Police Unit (FPU) in Liberia, the third such unit to be installed post conflict. The primary function of the group is to provide security within the city during public events with high profile leadership. I spent time with the group during my recent work with the UN in Liberia. I found the experience nothing short of inspirational.

No Help for Sex

Kristen Cordell reflects on the countrywide effort in Liberia to stop sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers.

Last month the UN Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 1888, reaffirming the UNs commitment to ending rape as a tool of war. The UN Mission in Liberia is leading efforts in six countries in Africa to check its own staff on a highly visible and challenging part of the problem: sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers. 

Time to stand the narratives of division on their head

"Issues of gender equality have international attention and even the possibility of resources- but do we (the UN Interagency and NGO community) have the crucial infrastructure and capacity to manage that? And in the case that we are simply creating that capacity as we go along- are we doing so effectively?"

Gender Equality, Economy, and Empowerment

"Forget China, India and the Internet- economic growth is driven by Women"

The World Bank

In my earlier posts I have discussed my fundamental issues with the amount of data collection and systematic information gathering that goes on at the UN.

Think global, act local

I really am honored that an international audience, interested in the global perspective of gender and women's issues, reads this blog. But I would like to set aside a few words for the brave women in my own country, the USA, who face violence on a daily basis.

Sexual Violence: the UN gets serious about data collection

One of my main frustrations with the UN system has been the lack of reliable data collection and analysis on gender. Research and analysis is key to promoting women’s rights- they are the foundation of quality advocacy and efforts- providing justification for funding, measuring impact and directing programming.

Global Financial Crisis or Global Financial Opportunity?

I was abroad when the global finical crisis struck and thus keenly aware of its reverberating and devastating effects. I assumed the news for financing gender equitable programming would prove equally bleak.

Well, is there a will?

The GEAR (Gender Equality Architecture and Reform) Campaign is a remarkable coalition movement to strengthen the gender apparatus at the UN, to better "enable the UN and movements to deliver on promises made to advance gender quality and women's rights."

Women, girls and human security

While the snowy weather and cool temperatures in New York made for a chilly commute this morning, the CSW was a warm reception! As I made my way through the snow into the first session, I couldn't help but reflect on warmer days in the DRC. I reminisced about my experience, and the difference between working on the ground and participating in the CSW at the UN's Headquarters in New York.

Combating sexual and gender-based violence: a key role for US women peacekeepers

There is an opportunity for the US to have an impact in the international community, specifically in peacekeeping, where it is now all but absent. And it’s down to the women, argues Kristen Cordell.

Gearing up for the CSW

As I prepare to attend the 53rd Session on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York, I have been reflecting the progress of the international community in regards to gender. One of the most encouraging developments is that we have finally moved the argument for gender equity and rights from an emotional standpoint to one based on the facts.

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