U.S. Announces $3 Million to Support Women’s Body Armor Project

Partners pose with a Ghanaian peacekeeper who will benefit from gender-specific body armor

Office of Press and Public Diplomacy

December 5, 2023

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield Announces $3 Million to Support Women’s Body Armor Project at UN Peacekeeping Ministerial in Accra, Ghana

Today, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Representative of the United States to the United Nations, announced a U.S. pledge of $3 million to support a women’s body armor pilot project at the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial in Accra, Ghana. The Ambassador joined partners from Ghana, the Netherlands, and Zambia to support this first-of-its-kind project intended to address inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) provided for women peacekeepers and increase their ability to meaningfully participate in peacekeeping missions.

“One major barrier for entry? The ‘unisex’ personal protective equipment that simply doesn’t fit women peacekeepers,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. “That is why we are thrilled to commit $3 million to a joint partnership with the Netherlands to help Ghana and Zambia pilot women-specific body armor in peacekeeping.”

Partners at the signing ceremony
Representatives of the Governments of Ghana, Zambia, the United States, and the Netherlands at the signing ceremony for a new agreement to provide gender-specific body armor for female peacekeepers (December 5, 2023)

Women-specific body armor features a tailored cut, rounded chest, shortened torso, and adjustable back that tightens to fit, allowing the vest to conform to a woman’s torso, providing better coverage of vital organs. The purpose of this pilot project is to evaluate the degree to which the equipment enhances operations and safety during training and deployment. This project aims to reduce barriers to women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in UN peace operations.

During the pledging ceremony, the Ambassador noted that “women peacekeepers are more approachable to women and girls – especially survivors of gender-based violence…they offer valuable perspectives on conflict, reconciliation, and peacebuilding…and they serve as powerful role models for the next generation of peacekeepers – inspiring women and girls to imagine a future after conflicts end.”

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said that an investment in this armor is an investment in women and the communities they serve. The Ambassador emphasized that “it’s long past time that we empower and protect these peacekeepers as they dedicate their lives to empowering and protecting civilians in conflict.”