Friday 20 January 2017

Hopes that a woman would get the top job at the UN are now beginning to fade

Mary Fitzgerald

Published 03/09/2016 | 02:30

Irina Bokova, head of Unesco, is a candidate for the UN job
Irina Bokova, head of Unesco, is a candidate for the UN job

Hopes that a woman might next lead the United Nations have been dealt a blow as the opaque process to elect a new secretary-general enters its final stages. Last month, incumbent Ban Ki-moon said it was "high time" for a woman take the helm of the UN for the first time since its foundation more than 70 years ago. His words heartened campaigners, including a group of 56 nations, that have been pushing for the next secretary-general to make history in this way.

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"We have many distinguished and eminent women leaders in national governments or other organisations or even business communities, political communities and cultural and every aspect of our life," Ban said, adding: "There's no reason why not in the United Nations."

Many hoped a women would be selected in 2006 when Ban, then a South Korean diplomat, was chosen. As the race for the next secretary-general heated up earlier this year, initial signs suggested that it might happen this time, after eight men have held the position.

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