Is the UN a boys’ club?

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon delivers a speech during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. Members should take the suggestion of electing the first female secretary general of the United Nations seriously. (AFP Photo)

We need

a woman Secretary General
Hindustan Times, Editorial, Dec 18, 2015 00


James Kottor(Note :Male domination or patriarchy is everywhere in the world, weather in religions or in politics.We had and still have many women heads of governments. In churches there are women priests and bishops but no women cardinals or pope although there is talk about them as well. But the anomaly is no one has been talking seriously about a woman Secretary General for the 193 member UN during its past 70 years of existence. The eighth Secretary Generals who held the post were decided by the five permanent members of UN. This time the call has come from Ban Ki-moon, who served two 5-year terms and two other top officials. It is time that UN functioned more transparently and democratically. james kottoor, editor)

It is exceedingly odd for a world body like the United Nations to have never had a female secretary general. Gender imbalance in professions is a reality across the world and it is regrettable that the fields of politics and public policy which have thrown up compelling figures like Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto, Aung San Suu Kyi and a host of distinguished policy practitioners have not seen women leaders get a real shot at the top job.
The UN is keen on addressing the anomaly. In a letter addressed to member states, US envoy to the UN and Security Council president for the month of December Samantha Power and General Assembly president Mogens Lykketoft have encouraged countries to nominate women for the UN top job to take over from the incumbent Ban Ki-moon in January 2017.
The world can, in theory, now look forward to the possibility of Hillary Clinton, the clear frontrunner for the US presidency, and a woman UN secretary general assuming office around the same time. The UN is a norm-setting agency in a range of areas, including human rights, labour standards and diversity — and it is only appropriate that it is pushing for a woman secretary general.
The decision is in line with the 2015 UN Human Development Report, which highlighted the under-representation of women in senior management and decision-making positions. Globally, it said, women earn 24% less than men and hold only 25% of administrative and managerial positions in business, while 32% of businesses have no women in senior management positions. Women still hold only 22% of seats in national parliaments. There are currently only 23 women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies.
The appointment of a female UN secretary general will be a significant symbolic fillip for women worldwide and it can also potentially advance feminist concerns in the agenda of international politics.
The UN also plans to make the selection more transparent and inclusive, in part by facilitating interactions between member states and candidates. This is another welcome step that moves away from the previous practice of appointing the secretary general effectively through a backroom agreement among Western governments.
In another report dated Dec.17 Hindustan times adds: The UN Security Council president for December, US envoy Samantha Power, and General Assembly president Mogens Lykketoft circulated a letter on Tuesday to the 193 UN members that solicited names of candidates and vowed to make the process more transparent and inclusive.
No woman has served as the world’s top diplomat in the 70 years the UN has been in existence .Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has served two five-year terms and his tenure concludes at the end of 2016. The election will be held in the second half of the year.All eight secretaries-general so far have been men selected in backroom deals by permanent members of the Council and rubber-stamped by the Assembly.
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