In the 70 years since the United Nations (UN) was founded, there has never been a woman Secretary-General despite there being numerous qualified candidates from all regions of the world. Traditionally, the Secretary-General post rotates so that each geographical region gets its “turn.” However, women have never had a “turn.” And, throughout the ranks of the UN, women are also underrepresented. For the past decade, according to UN Women, only 24.6% of the highest positions at the organization have been filled by women.
In 2016, a new United Nations Secretary-General will be selected and the UN Security Council is responsible for recommending a candidate to the General Assembly. The rules governing the selection process will be adopted in September 2015. As pointed out by the 1 for 7 billion campaign to “find the best UN leader,” of which Equality Now is a member, past nomination procedures have taken place behind closed doors and the specific criteria for recommendations is unknown. It is important that going forward, the UN adopts a transparent, meaningful nomination process and that gender equality is included as a fundamental consideration. This would be in keeping with the UN’s own pledge given 20 years ago.
At the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 in Beijing, 189 governments called for the development of “mechanisms to nominate women candidates for appointment to senior posts in the United Nations”. 2000 was set as the target date for “overall gender equality, particularly at the Professional level and above.” It is 2015, and the UN has still not reached this goal. Achieving gender equality, development and global peace, will never be realized without women’s equal access to positions of decision-making power and a clear process to get there. The upcoming selection of the next UN Secretary-General is a perfect opportunity to implement the commitment made in Beijing. There is no reason a suitable female candidate should not be appointed as Secretary-General in 2016.
Equality Now presents here a list of women whose qualifications as members of the Secretary-General’s senior management team (as of 15 April 2015), give them relevant experience for the job of Secretary-General, in addition to the female heads of state, female foreign ministers and female finance ministers serving at the highest levels of government around the world.
What You Can Do
Right now there is an opportunity to make equality a reality at the highest global levels. Please join our campaign for a woman UN Secretary-General in 2016 and help spread the word.
- Please call on the permanent and rotating UN Security Council member states below, and their corresponding Secretary of State/ Foreign Affairs Ministers, to support the election of a woman Secretary-General and to adopt more transparent nomination procedures
- Spread the message: "It’s past #TimeforaWomanSG to lead the UN! Take Action w/@equalitynow: http://tinyurl.com/p769zve #UNSG #She4SG #1for7billion". Tweet at the targets below and follow and share messages from our Twitter and Facebook
Permanent Security Council Member States’ Ambassadors and Foreign Ministers:
- H.E. LIU Jieyi, Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the UN, 350 E. 35th Street, New York, NY 10016, USA; Email： email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, No. 2, Chaoyangment Nandajie, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100701, CHINA; E-Mail: email@example.com
- H.E. François Delattre, Permanent Mission of France to the UN, 245 E. 47th Street - 44th floor, New York, NY, 10017, USA, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 37, Quai d’Orsay, Paris, F – 75351, FRANCE; E-mail form: http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/navigation/email-us/article/contact-form; Twitter: @LaurentFabius
- United Kingdom:
- H.E. Matthew Rycroft, Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the UN, One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 885 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA; E-mail: email@example.com; Twitter: @UKUN_NewYork
- Foreign Secretary Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London, SW1A2AH, UNITED KINGDOM, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @PHammondMP
- United States:
- H.E. Samantha Power, Permanent Mission of the United States to the UN, 799 United Nations Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10017, E-mail: USUNPolFax@state.gov, Twitter: @AmbassadorPower and @USUN
- Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520, UNITED STATES; E-mail form: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform; Twitter: @JohnKerry
- Angola: H.E. Mr. Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins; E-mail: email@example.com
- Egypt: H.E. Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Japan: H.E. Mr. Koro Bessho; E-mail: email@example.com
- Senegal: H.E. Mr. Fodé Seck; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ukraine: H.E. Mr. Volodymyr Yelchenko; E-mail: email@example.com
- Malaysia: H.E. Mr. Ramlan Bin Ibrahim; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- New Zealand: Mr. Gerard Jacobus van Bohemen; E-mail: email@example.com
- Uruguay: H.E. Elbio Rosselli; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Spain: H.E. Mr. Román Oyarzun Marchesi; E-mail: Rep.email@example.com
- Venezuela: H.E. Rafael Darío Ramírez Carreño; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I urge you, as a member of the United Nations Security Council, to actively support the nomination and election of a woman as the next United Nations Secretary-General, as called for by the Presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly in December 2015.
In the over 70-year history of the United Nations, there has never been a woman Secretary-General and a transparent and fair procedure must be put in place for women to be seriously considered for the top post. The Platform for Action, adopted by 189 governments in 1995 at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, calls for the development of “mechanisms to nominate women candidates for appointment to senior posts in the United Nations”. The upcoming election of the Secretary-General is an opportunity to implement the commitment made in Beijing in a significant way.
I urge you to champion the candidacy of qualified women candidates, as well as a transparent, meaningful nominations procedure. There is no reason a female candidate should not be appointed as Secretary-General in 2016.
As a member of the United Nations Security Council, I urge you to actively support the election of a woman as the next United Nations Secretary-General.
There has never been a woman Secretary-General in the over 70-year history of the United Nations and a transparent and fair procedure must be put in place for women to be seriously considered for the top post. The Platform for Action, adopted by 189 governments in 1995 at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, calls for the development of “mechanisms to nominate women candidates for appointment to senior posts in the United Nations”. The upcoming election of the Secretary-General is an opportunity to implement the commitment made in Beijing in a significant way.
I urge you to take a leadership role in promoting and supporting the candidacy of women candidates, as well as a transparent, meaningful nominations procedure.