Women leaders who are attending a leadership course at the Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA) in Musanze District, under the United Nations Senior Women Talent Pipeline, have been urged to leverage the platform and ensure female representation in the UN peace missions. The one-week course, which began on Monday, December 5, was attended by a total of 21 women from Europe, USA, Australia, Asia-Pacific and Africa as well as the United Nations ALSO READ: Rwanda’s Rugwabiza named head of UN Mission in CAR The course held under the theme: “Women’s Leadership for Peace Course,” has drawn women from the fields of political affairs, civil affairs, rule of law and security institutions, public information, and mission support. At the official opening of the one-week course, Jeannette Bayisenge, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, said that training more women would lead to gender parity in UN missions. “There is no doubt that women are underrepresented in senior UN positions, particularly in field missions. This is because they face a variety of challenges that impede them from occupying those positions,” Bayisenge said. “This gap in gender parity can be addressed by enhancing the profiles and leadership capabilities of senior women leaders. This is the only sure way of having women who can successfully compete for senior UN positions.” She encouraged the participants to make use of the training to foster efforts to address gender inequities in general and in peacekeeping missions specifically. Men dominate the leadership positions in peacekeeping missions. The Senior Women Talent Pipeline is a programme aimed at promoting gender parity at the senior level through a pool of qualified women preparing to apply for leadership positions in UN peace operations. Col (Rtd) Jill Rutaremara, the Director of Rwanda Peace Academy, said the course will enable the participants to qualify for top UN leadership positions, especially in peacekeeping missions. “The training is in line with one of the top priorities of the UN Secretary General of achieving the gender parity agenda, especially in the UN Peace Operations,” Rutaremara said. “It is aimed at strengthening capacity among Pipeline members on leadership in UN peacekeeping contexts as part of the effort to better equip Pipeline members for a potential future career at the UN.” The training is organised by the RPA in partnership with United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the Senior Women Talent Pipeline under the United Nations. It will be closed on Friday, December 9.