15 MARCH 2016
International Women's Day, once commemorated as a landmark UN decision, seems to have faded away from attention of UN leadership, both within the Secretariat and among delegates.
When the Women in the World Summit was announced by the New York Times as the seventh annual summit, taking place this year at the David H. Koch Theater at the Lincoln Center in New
York, one actor was conspicuously absent from the scene. Where is UN WOMEN? Only a passing reference to them was made in the announcement, such limited involvement being quite surprising
given the event's location right by the UN Headquarters. Quite
bluntly, that is not the fault of the New York Times, which, if the UN were playing any role, would have had to prominently include it. This year, the event includes the women shown
in the images above.
Where did UN WOMEN go? After the departure of Mrs. Bachelet, who now is president of Chile, her replacement Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is nowhere to be seen or heard. Last year, an event
had a passing reference to her out of courtesy, but her performance at that meeting was hardly noticeable, which is not only an embarrassment to the UN, but to her country of origin,
South Africa, where women had played a historical role in the long successful fight against Apartheid. There may be no need on this occasion to go into other comparisons such as "what
ever happened to Human Rights Day," as compared to other politically correct resolutions like celebrating fresh air, high mountains, or clear water streams. However it is important
to "check the tree" as the once popular song by Youssou N'Dour about this day demanded. Talking about Millennium Development Goals where the most partial success will depend on a
substantive role for women could not be taken seriously unless at least some sort of substantive interest is shown clearly towards a main event to recognize women. That is why it
is important to again raise the question once more this year: where did UN women go?