New Campaign – “UNSG LIKE ME” for a Woman UN Secretary-General & Leader in Peace Talks, International Diplomacy
Date: March 21, 2016
NEW CAMPAIGN: “UNSG LIKE ME”
The campaign will run from International Women’s Day until the General Assembly and the election of the next Secretary-General later this year.
Why a Woman Leader of the UN?
Despite being more adversely affected by the impact of war, women continue to be underrepresented in peace talks and international diplomacy. Fifteen years ago, the United Nations Security Council unanimously agreed a resolution that urged member states and the UN itself to increase women’s participation in all decision-making levels in conflict resolution and peace processes. However, between 1992 and 2011, only 9% of participants at peace talks were women.
The UN recognises that women’s participation is essential to preventing conflict and building peace. Research into recent peace deals shows that:
“peace processes that included women as witnesses, signatories, mediators, and/or negotiators demonstrated a 20% increase in the probability of a peace agreement lasting at least two years. This increases over time, with a 35% increase in the probability of a peace agreement lasting 15 years.”
The UN Secretary-General is the most high-profile and most influential diplomat in the world. The leader acts as the spokesperson for the UN and has an pivotal role in conflict prevention and resolution. Later this year, a new Secretary-General will be elected by the UN’s member states. Leaders can serve two consecutive 5-year terms, meaning that if a women is not elected this time, the next opportunity may not be until 2026.
The UN has a responsibility to promote gender equality in its work. If there are no credible woman candidates for the role of Secretary-General, we have ask serious questions about how effectively the UN is carrying out its responsibilities to women. From Argentina to Ukraine, Bangladesh to Burundi, Peru to Poland, women have been elected as presidents and prime ministers on every continent. It is time that the United Nations caught up with the democratic world and elected its first woman leader.
Men can look at the previous leaders of the UN and say to themselves there has been a UN Secretary-General like me, it’s time that women are be able to do the same.
Women at the UN
8 Secretaries-General since 1947, 0 women:
72 presidents of the General Assembly, 3 women: 4% participation
Of the current 15 current ambassadors on the Security Council, only one is a woman:
Between 1992 and 2011, only 9% of participants at peace talks were women
The lack of women at negotiating tables is not a problem limited to the Global South. In many cases European negotiations are even less representative. Peace deals that had no women signatories include the 1995 Dayton Accords for Bosnia and the 2001 Ohrid Peace Agreement for Macedonia.
In the United Kingdom – a permanent member of the UN Security Council – only one in 10 signatories of the Good Friday Agreement for Northern Ireland were women.
Since 2000, permanent ministers of the UN Security Council have appointed 25 different people as their most senior foreign minister, only 5 have been women:
In the G20 nations, only 18 women have been among the 122 people appointed as most senior foreign minister – rate of only 14%