Languages

Where Are the Female Leaders at the UN? Gender Bias Persists

By Ingvild Bode 

The exhibition “HERStory: A Celebration of Leading Women in the United Nations” was held at the Unesco headquarters in Paris this summer, after it made its debut in New York last year. Designed to showcase the contributions of female leaders throughout the UN’s history, it featured such high-profile personalities as Margaret Anstee, the first woman to be appointed a special envoy of the UN secretary-general to a peacekeeping operation, in 1992, in Angola.

The exhibition pointed to the important roles women have played in the UN throughout the last 70 years, yet overall numbers of female leaders remain far eclipsed by their male counterparts. In fact, despite the UN’s long track record on promoting women’s rights, it still needs to do much more work on increasing female representation at the senior levels of leadership.

The new secretary-general, António Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal, has pledged gender equality in senior-echelon posts at the UN, but the mere fact of another West European man running the UN once again, since its inception in 1945, is the ultimate symbol of a lost opportunity to show that the world body is an enlightened and relevant institution catering to half the globe. (Previous European secretaries-general are Trygve Lie of Norway, Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden and Kurt Waldheim of Austria.)

Click here to read the full article published by PassBlue on 28 August 2017. 

English