United Nations Peacekeeping is associated with Chapter VI and VII of the UN Charter. Now, peacekeeping has emerged from a minuscule moderately armed force mandated with supervision, observation, and inter- positioning to a more complex intercession involving military, humanitarian and political support roles that include peace building, civilians protection, and human security. Today, about 16 missions are ongoing, and around 100,376 men and women are currently serving in UN peacekeeping operations. As UN states, "women and men experience conflict differently and therefore understand peace differently". Hence, making women part of this peacekeeping is deemed important because of the topography and delicacy of operations. Resolution 1325 seeks to manifest the importance of women and provide opportunities for women to participate as peace agents in conflict resolution and peace building.
Bulgaria joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace in 1994 and became a member of NATO in 2004.The country is also working toward NATO compatibility in communications and training, and has established a Peacekeeping Training Center.
Bulgaria fully supports and actively participates in the reform of the peacekeeping missions. Until present, as per official statistics, Bulgaria took part (or continues its involvement) in the following international peace-keeping missions: UNTAG,Cambodia– 1992-93; UNOMA,Angola– 1995-99; UNMOT,Tajikistan– 1995–2000; UNMEE, Ethiopia/Eritrea – 2000-2004; UNMIBH (UN), SFOR (NATO) andЕUFOR (EC) /the latter from December 2004/,Bosnia and Herzegovina– from 1997; UNMIK (UN) and KFOR (NATO),Kosovo– as of 2000; EU mission for humanitarian de-mining,Croatia- 1999–2000; ISAF (UN/NATO),Afghanistan– as of 2002; Multinational coalition forces,Iraq– as of 2003; UNMIL,Liberia– as of 2004.
Bulgaria is also part of the OSCE, which is a primary instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation in its area. It has 19 missions or field operations in South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
In terms of the need for women in peacekeeping missions,Bulgaria has historically been known to recruit women to become soldiers for the Bulgarian army, particularly during critical times. In the year of 2016, Bulgaria has sent 28 police troops out of which 12 were female troops.
In Bulgaria, women military comprises 14% of the staff of the armed forces. Under that index this country is ahead of many NATO countries where its average is 10%.Theright to admission of women to practice Constitution of Republic of Bulgaria, written in Article 6 “all citizens are equal by virtue of law”, guarantees the military profession and “No discrimination is allowed on any basis including sex”. The Constitution of Republic of Bulgaria is a supreme law so the other customary laws such as Law on Defense and Air forces of the Republic of Bulgaria are developed in accordance with it.
According to Article 88 of Law on Defense and Armed Forces of Republic of Bulgaria “women in Bulgarian Army are appointed to professional military service in the Armed Forces positions” determined by the Minister of Defense.
Sofia was also a venue of an international seminar on the NATO project ‘Role of Women in Security and Defense’. Bulgaria proved it’s potential as an ideal example fora policy and legislation based on gender equality in the area. And for this reason, it is a leading country in the ongoing work on the draft, also known as the White Paper.
Last but not the least, Stoila Bongalova, President of the Bulgarian Fund for Women, continues to be a role model for all the women soldiers and peacekeepers around the world by building back their self-confidence of thousands of women who were affected by war, mentally and physically. And she is also known for her contribution in breaking several stereotypes and norms associated with women and men, and continues to enforce the equal role of women and men in the military.