UNITED NATIONS, Jul 06 (IPS) – A 2.0 model of an historic Biblical saying reads: It’s simpler for a camel to move by the attention of a needle than for a lady to turn out to be the Secretary-Common of the United Nations.
The male/feminine ratio for the Secretary-Common stands at 9 vs zero. And the Presidency of the Common Meeting (PGA), the very best policy-making physique on the UN, shouldn’t be far behind both.
“Out of its 193 Member States, solely 4 ladies had been elected because the Meeting President,” Ambassador Anwarul Ok. Chowdhury, a former Everlasting Consultant of Bangladesh to the UN, informed IPS.
The rating stands at 73 males and 4 ladies as PGAs– even because the Common Meeting elected one other male candidate, as its 77th President final month, and who will serve his one-year time period starting September 2022.
Since 1945, the one 4 ladies elected as presidents had been: Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit of India (1953), Angie Brooks of Liberia (1969), Sheikha Haya Rashed Al-Khalifa of Bahrain (2006) and Maria Fernando Espinosa Garces of Ecuador (2018).
The Common Meeting final month adopted a decision—by consensus– to commemorate each June 24 as “Worldwide Day of Ladies in Diplomacy” (IDWD).
However how important is that this decision? And can it assist usher within the UN’s first lady SG or set off extra ladies PGAs? Or is that this decision one other train in political futility?
Introducing the decision, the Maldives Ambassador Thilmeeza Hussain pressured that “ladies’s participation in resolution making is completely important”.
She additionally added that but, far too typically, as ladies climb the diplomatic ranks, they’re outnumbered by their male friends, together with at United Nations Headquarters, the place they signify just one fifth of the Everlasting Representatives.
Presently, there are solely 44 ladies Everlasting Representatives in comparison with 149 males holding that publish.
All everlasting representatives are nominated by their respective governments—and every member state takes it flip, in geographical rotation, to subject a candidate, largely everlasting representatives and infrequently international ministers.
A former UN diplomat informed IPS that PGAs are a few of the strongest advocates of gender empowerment— whereas in workplace.
However none of them, he identified, had been politically beneficiant sufficient to say no their nominations and persuade their respective governments to appoint a girl for the publish.
In the meantime, in a letter to President of the Worldwide Affiliation of Everlasting Representatives (IAPR), Ambassador Chowdhury mentioned: “I recall proudly that in September 2012, I and the IMPACT Management 21, issued a joint “Name to Motion” to world leaders gathering on the UN asking for pressing motion in 4 areas:
- Appointment of a Girl because the Subsequent UN Secretary-Common. In its 77 years of existence, the world physique has failed miserably to elect a girl to that publish. It’s really a humiliation.
- Nominations of Ladies as Future Presidents of the Common Meeting. Out of its 193 Member States, solely 4 ladies had been elected because the Meeting President.
- Election of Extra Ladies as Heads of Varied UN Governing Our bodies, and,
- Appointment by Member States of Extra Ladies as Ambassadors to the UN in New York and Geneva.
On the primary Worldwide Day of Ladies in Diplomacy, he mentioned final month, “allow us to decide to attaining these aims to make the observance of the IDWD really significant and worthwhile.”
“Reflecting the unlucky actuality, not a lot consideration has been given to these to date,” mentioned Ambassador Chowdhury, a former Senior Particular Adviser to the President of the UN Common Meeting (2011-2012).
Purnima Mane, a former UN Assistant Secretary-Common (ASG) and Deputy Government Director of the UN Inhabitants Fund (UNFPA)., informed IPS a UN Common Meeting (UNGA) decision which acknowledges the contribution of girls globally in any sector is all the time a significant milestone and to be applauded particularly when it’s unanimously handed by consensus by the UNGA.
That the Maldives which proposed the decision had 191 co-sponsors is laudable and is seemingly a document for the present session of the UNGA, she identified.
“Whereas this acknowledgement of girls in diplomacy is greater than welcome, many will surprise on the timing of this acknowledgement particularly as a result of the UN is grappling with a multiplicity of crises on the worldwide scene.”
Clearly the world should unpack what precisely this celebration of girls in diplomacy means and what the aspirational objectives are within the present situation of the numerous challenges the UN is going through and within the context of UN reform, mentioned Mane, an internationally revered professional on sexual and reproductive well being who additionally served because the President and CEO of Pathfinder Worldwide.
She mentioned the language used to elucidate this celebration states that it’s to rejoice ladies in any respect ranges of resolution making who work for the achievement of sustainable improvement, peace, and democracy.
“Ladies are presently under-represented at most ranges amongst nationwide delegations and within the UN diplomatic corps however particularly so within the senior ranges,’ she mentioned.
Whereas the illustration of girls ambassadors is claimed to have gone up from 16 to 22 p.c since 2018, the numbers are appallingly low to start with and ladies proceed to be grossly under-represented in diplomatic positions in most international locations.
Canada and Sweden, she identified, have achieved equality of illustration within the diplomatic corps and as per out there information, UK, Norway and South Africa will not be far behind however there may be in depth catching as much as do for many international locations.
To that extent, this commemoration may get up international locations to take the matter of illustration of girls in diplomatic roles extra severely and likewise concentrate on offering them an enabling setting wherein to work, a matter wherein important lacunae are recognized to exist, she declared.
Ambassador Chowdhury mentioned the burst of applause that adopted the adoption of the decision proclaiming the annual observance of this very significant day within the UN’s calendar was very energizing in view of the precedence accorded to the worldwide goal of making certain “lively participation of girls, on equal phrases with males, in any respect ranges of decision-making…”.
Given its vitality and relevance in addition to the high-level help of the UN’s high echelons, he mentioned, it was very disappointing to just accept in any case, the inclusion of a sentence in the identical decision stressing that the price of all actions by the UN which will come up from the observance of the Day “needs to be met from voluntary contributions”.
For the paltry sum of sources wanted for the observance, the related division of the UN is all the time ready to accommodate the bills from its present budgets.
“Additionally, I imagine that the common finances of the Division of World Communication ought to all the time embody the observance of the worldwide days as proclaimed by the Common Meeting,” mentioned Ambassador Chowdhury, a former UN Excessive Consultant.
Referring to the brand new GA decision declaring IDWD, Mane mentioned “this brings us again to the query why ladies in diplomacy was seen as a related precedence at this level of time within the UN’s historical past”.
Is the foremost motivator of this decision the push to change the fact that one of many highest positions within the UN, that of the Secretary Common, has by no means been occupied by a girl and that solely 4 ladies have held the place of the President of the Common Meeting as in comparison with 73 males?, Mane requested.
“Or does it come from a need to acknowledge the huge and important contributions of girls in all diplomatic processes and an aspiration to push all elements of the UN and governments to do extra?”.
Hopefully the inspiration comes from each these motivators and can result in seen change and higher accountability inside governments and the UN to pay much more severe consideration to the illustration and position of girls in diplomacy, she declared.
In the meantime, at a information briefing in March final yr, US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield was requested by a reporter about American help for a future lady candidate for Secretary-Common.
“You signify an administration which is pledging a necessity for range and alter and gender rights and a complete panoply of various issues. You will have arrived in time for the collection of a Secretary-Common, whether or not it is going to be a renewal or a brand new candidate”.
“Talking in your nationwide capability and talking as a girl, don’t you assume after 76 years it’s time for greater than half the inhabitants on the planet to be represented on the United Nations by a girl as Secretary-Common?,” the reporter requested.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield: That’s a loaded query, and I’ll take it as a loaded query (Laughter). We’ll help essentially the most certified candidate for the job, however we completely imagine in and help range”.
“We wish to help gender steadiness, and we’ll have a look at the candidates who’re introduced to us and evaluate them accordingly,” she declared.
Thalif Deen, Senior Editor on the UN Bureau of Inter Press Service (IPS) information company, is the creator of the recently-released guide on the UN titled “No Remark—and Don’t Quote Me on That” (2021). The guide, out there on Amazon, is a satire peppered with scores of political anecdotes—from the chic to the hilarious. The hyperlink to Amazon by way of the creator’s web site follows: https://www.rodericgrigson.com/no-comment-by-thalif-deen/
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