Major Radhika Sen of the Indian Army was honored with the United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award 2023 for her outstanding efforts in promoting gender equality and empowering women in peacekeeping missions.

Serving in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) from March 2023 to April 2024, Major Sen commanded the Engagement Team of the Indian Rapidly Deployed Battalion. Leading a diverse team of 20 women and 10 men, she played a crucial role in interacting with civilians, addressing security concerns of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and advocating for the voices of women, girls, and children in conflict zones.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres praised Major Sen as a “true leader and role model,” highlighting her significant contributions to the UN’s mission.

Under Major Sen’s leadership, her team conducted educational sessions on women’s health, education, childcare, gender equality, and employment. These initiatives, alongside skill development programs, enhanced self-reliance among the local population, built trust, and facilitated effective information gathering.

Expressing her gratitude upon receiving the award, Major Sen thanked her dedicated team, especially her second-in-command, Major Saumya Singh, and acknowledged the Indian Army and her family for their unwavering support.

Major Sen, hailing from Sunder Nagar in Himachal Pradesh, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering in Biotechnology and was pursuing her M Tech from IIT Bombay before joining the Indian Army in 2016. Her service record includes postings in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, and Sikkim, and her impactful work in the DRC has set a high standard for future peacekeeping missions worldwide.