Join Equality Now's campaign to elect a woman UN Secretary-General
Achieving gender equality, economic development, and global peace will only be realized if women have equal access to positions of decision-making power. Yet in the 70+ years since the United Nations was founded, there has never been a woman elected as Secretary-General.
Achieving Gender Equality at the United Nations
"To have a female U.N. leader would be a historic change. It would send an important message to the world, and it would embody the statement in the U.N. Charter that refers to the deep commitment to the equality of women and men."
Gillian Sorensen, the former Assistant Secretary General
Throughout the ranks of the UN, women are underrepresented: according to UN Women, more than 15 years after the UN pledged to have overall gender equality at the professional level, less than a quarter of the highest positions at the organization belong to women.
The 2016 election of the next UN Secretary-General is another chance for the UN to prove its commitment to gender equality.
Progress: Time for a Woman 2016
Equality Now’s campaign for a woman Secretary-General started in 1996. Twenty years later, we are still advocating for a woman to lead the UN, and for a more open, transparent candidate selection process.
Since our campaign for the 2016 Secretary-General election began in April 2015, we and our partners have elevated the issue throughout the UN and publicly, and have seen significant progress:
- June 2015: For the first time, the draft resolution for the UN Secretary-General selection process calls for a transparent, gender-inclusive process
- August 2015: For the first time ever, more than 40 Member States come together themselves to openly campaign for a woman to be elected UN Secretary-General
- September 2015: The UN General Assembly adopts a progressive selection process and encourages Member States to nominate women candidates
- December 2015: The President of the General Assembly and the President of the Security Council issued a historic joint letter urging Member States to nominate women.
- February 2016: The first female candidate for UN Secretary-General is nominated. Over the course of the month, three more women are nominated.
- April 2016: The first-ever open dialogues with candidates begin, and include questions on human rights and gender equality, which Equality Now provided as a part of a civil society committee.