Celebrating Women in the Security Sector: Brigadier Astou Ndiaye
“I became a police officer to promote human rights and social justice and fight against child abuse,” says retired Brigadier (Brig) Chief of Officers, Astou Ndiaye. As a 28-year veteran of the Senegalese National Police from 1986 to 2014, Brig. Ndiaye has had an exemplary career worth celebrating.
Like most women officers of her caliber, Brigadier Ndiaye has been influential in Senegal and elsewhere in Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As president of the United Nations Police Women’s Network in Mali in 2015, she increased women’s recruitment into Mali’s security and defense forces. Furthermore, she conducted gender and child protection training workshops for Malian women police officers in which the trainees were assigned to lead gender and child protection units in other countries. At the end of her tenure, the Police Chief of the United Nations Police (UNPOL) in Mali gave Brig. Ndiaye a glowing commendation for her endeavors to promote children’s and women’s rights; and strengthen the capacity of Malian women police officers overall. Reminiscing on her time in Mali, Brig. Ndiaye shares, “I am thankful to have used my experience to support Malian security forces, and it was an honor to have served my country, dutifully.”
In the DRC, Brigadier Ndiaye was involved in three peacekeeping operations under the UN. While there, she worked with authorities to investigate sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) or abuse, specifically within orphanages, displaced person camps, and reception centers for young girls who experience these challenges. Also, given the societal stigma in the DRC around rape and other forms of SGBV, Brig. Ndiaye’s also facilitated women’s reintegration into their communities.
Brig. Ndiaye’s experience in her native country Senegal is likewise impressive. It includes a stint with a particular anti-drug trafficking unit at the Leopold Sédar Senghor International Airport and an assignment with the National Central Bureau of the International Criminal Police Organization’s (INTERPOL), also based in Dakar.
So, given such an outstanding resume and more than 20 years of public service, what does the Brigadier do in retirement? Well, the same thing she has always done – advocate for greater women’s inclusion in the security sector in law enforcement. She does this mostly through the Association of Women’s Police Pioneers, an organization she co-founded with fellow veteran officers.