SEPTEMBER 12, 2022


It's not the program with the same name, but the actual role of women in the current UN.

"UN Women" was initiated with the appointment of Michele Bachelet who, convinced that she was blocked from practical action, left to become President of Chile.

Ms. Bachelet just resigned as High Commissioner for Human Rights.

That brings up the issue of women participation in the widest range of UN activities.

Delegates are designated by their own countries. A number of competent women are already serving as Permanent Representative, including those at the Security Council, i.e Norway's Mona Juul, UAE's Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, USA's Linda Thomas-Greenfield, UK's Dame Barbaran Woodward, and Ireland's Geraldine Byrne Nason.

Roles that matter where women's influence could be expanded are in the executive branch (the Secretariat, Programs Funds and Agencies). For example, UNDP was headed by the former President of New Zealand, Helen Clark.

Unesco was headed by a notable Bulgarian educator, Irina Borkova, a pillar of international education for over a decade. She broke the tradition of having a French citizen as head of the Unesco.

The current Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, is a French citizen of Moroccan descent.

Unicef, now headed by Catherine Russell, was managed by the outstanding Carol Bellamy, during its golden era. She maintained women deputy in the field, including Rima Salah of Jordan.

At UN headquarters, Secretary-General Guterres, who was selected after a list of seven women was available, seems to make a special effort to appoint women to Senior Posts.

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group Amina Mohammed, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary Di Carlo, Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance Catherine Pollard, and Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications Melissa Fleming, are obvious examples.

More focus may be required on other levels, from Professional to Directors.

New rules allow heads of departments to make personnel decisions.

Now that more departments are headed by women, it is hoped that more qualified women would be appointed at all levels.