Celebrating Women in the Security Sector: Police Controller General (PCG) Elisabeth Goubéyané Yoni-Ibrango

  September 25, 2020

As of September 2020, the Burkina Faso National Police included 962 women, just 10 percent of national police personnel. Among them are 25 police commissioners, 62 officers, and 875 vice-officers. Within the high ranking of police commissioners division, there is no woman as Inspector General (the highest ranking in the division), 1 woman as General Controller, 7 women as Divisionary Commissioners, 9 women as Principal Commissioners, and 8 police commissioners.

Police Controller General (PCG) Elisabeth Goubéyané YONI-IBRANGO, who served 39 years with the national police of Burkina Faso, is the first woman Police Controller General. When she retired in 2006, the highest ranking of Inspector General did not exist.

Police Controller General (PCG) Elisabeth Goubéyané YONI-IBRANGO is a pioneering women in the police security sector who served 39 years with the national police of Burkina Faso. PCG Yoni-Ibrango recalls her career’s genesis, stating, “Initially, I admit that it was curiosity that drew me to the work of the police in 1976 during a recruitment drive. I said to myself that women could do the same security missions as men.” Shortly after that, her curiosity would mature into her purpose of being a trailblazer and promoter of women’s inclusion into the security sector.

As the supervising officer of women in the National Police, PCG Yoni-Ibrango made a concerted effort during meetings to influence her female colleagues to consistently give their best in security work being in a position that required them to contribute to the safety of people and property. Therefore, they must exhibit that they deserved the trust they have been entrusted with by others. During the beginning years of PCG Yoni-Ibrango’s career with the national police, she saw how women’s recruitment enabled them to enter security management, which was previously an exclusively male domain. The Burkinabe female trailblazer used her platform with the national police to influence her counterpart colleagues in the military and paramilitary authorities to mirror the police’s progressive actions by recruiting women into their security personnel structures. As a result, today, Burkina Faso has female officer representation in both the military and the gendarmery branches.

Throughout PCG Yoni-Ibrango’s career, there have been many milestones that have made significant impacts. However, for her, the ones that were the most memorable and proud highlights of her civil service were her ten years as a judicial police officer and her diverse high-level career promotions. As a judicial police officer, PCG Yoni-Ibrango served as a member of mobile judicial police brigades, borough judicial police, and district police stations in this function. The number of investigations that I have led, which resulted in the liberation of those falsely accused, has “convinced me that women could succeed in missions in the security sector.”

PCG Yoni-Ibrango strongly believes that women’s participation and role in the security sector are relevant because the security mission is men’s and women’s responsibility. Women also add a complementary element to their male counterparts in the security sector due to their innate heightened social awareness and alertness to security issues, especially as it relates to its effects on women.

During her tenure of service with UN peace missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, PCG Yoni-Ibrango held several judicial police and gender focal point positions in its eastern region. She also occupied roles in the capital of Kinshasa, where she served as both the head and a trainer of the United Nations Organization Mission in Congo (MONUC) Police Training Unit. She was also a two-time elected deputy coordinator for United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO). Since her retirement, PCG Yoni-Ibrango has remained consistent in her purpose by continuing to pave the way for the up and coming generation of female police officers in the security sector. The executive director recently appointed her as steering committee president for the Sahel Road Safety Initiative project with the Burkina Faso non-governmental organization la Fondation pour la sécurité du citoyen (FOSEC).