Is it time for a woman to lead the United Nations? (Thinkstock)
Is it time for a woman to lead the United Nations?
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The head of the United Nations is the secretary-general. Who chooses? The Security Council nominates a candidate. The General Assembly votes on the candidate. The Security Council's selection process has been secretive. It's mostly male.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon term ends Dec. 31, 2016. His successor is under discussion. Some U.N. watchers even scrutinize the handwriting on paper ballots after Security Council straw polls.

A European ambassador recently reminded colleagues of a January 1946 General Assembly resolution. It says a "man of eminence and high attainment" should hold the post.

Perhaps they should add "or a woman." No doubt. The Security Council has included onlythree women in its past closed-door votes. Now two campaigns call for a female secretary-general.

Equality Now is an international women's rights group. It will launch the Time for a Woman campaign. They want the U.N. to make "gender a serious consideration for the first time," said Antonia Kirkland. She's the group's legal adviser.

"There have been eight men and no women. To me, it's time," said Jean Krasno, a lecturer at Yale. She leads the Campaign to Elect a Woman Secretary-General. The campaign will launch WomanSG.org. It will feature possible women candidates with political experience.

Women proposed include Helen Clark, former New Zealand prime minister and the head of the U.N. Development Program; Bulgarian European commissioner Kristalina Georgieva; Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite; Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

"And obviously, you could have some sort of dream thoughts around (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel," said Laura Liswood. She's secretary-general of the Council of Women World Leaders.

Also proposed is the International Monetary Fund managing director. But Christine Lagarde is French. The United States, Britain, France, Russia and China are permanent Security Council members. Usually, candidates from their' countries are not considered.

Women's organizations are attending the meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women. "More women are leading businesses, governments and global organizations. At the same time, progress remains unacceptably slow," Ban told the meeting Monday.

Today, the world has fewer than 20 female heads of government. Women hold about a quarter of senior posts in the U.N. Secretariat. A female secretary-general "will be a cherry on top," said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. She heads the U.N. agency promoting equality for women.

Traditionally regions, such as Africa or Asia, take turns having someone in the top post. This would be the first turn for eastern Europe. Irina Bokova, has a nomination from Bulgaria. She's the Bulgarian Director-General of UNESCO.

All 193 U.N. member states belong to the General Assembly. But they have little voice in picking a secretary-general. The Security Council's five permanent members have veto power. The council hands a single candidate to the General Assembly for approval.

Enough, says the campaign 1 for 7 Billion. It wants more transparency and public input for the best candidate, "irrespective of his or her country of origin." The campaign doesn't demand a female secretary-general. But it points out that a woman has never held the job.

In February, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan joined former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. They called for a stronger United Nations. They said the secretary-general selection process should be more open and thorough. Brundtland is one of three women ever voted on by the Security Council as a possible U.N. chief.

"After eight 'he's' it's surely time for a 'she,'" they wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times.The head of the United Nations is the secretary-general. Who chooses? The Security Council nominates a candidate. The General Assembly votes on the candidate. The Security Council's selection process has been secretive. It's mostly male.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon term ends Dec. 31, 2016. His successor is under discussion. Some U.N. watchers even scrutinize the handwriting on paper ballots after Security Council straw polls.

A European ambassador recently reminded colleagues of a January 1946 General Assembly resolution. It says a "man of eminence and high attainment" should hold the post.

Perhaps they should add "or a woman." No doubt. The Security Council has included onlythree women in its past closed-door votes. Now two campaigns call for a female secretary-general.

Equality Now is an international women's rights group. It will launch the Time for a Woman campaign. They want the U.N. to make "gender a serious consideration for the first time," said Antonia Kirkland. She's the group's legal adviser.

"There have been eight men and no women. To me, it's time," said Jean Krasno, a lecturer at Yale. She leads the Campaign to Elect a Woman Secretary-General. The campaign will launch WomanSG.org. It will feature possible women candidates with political experience.

Women proposed include Helen Clark, former New Zealand prime minister and the head of the U.N. Development Program; Bulgarian European commissioner Kristalina Georgieva; Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite; Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

"And obviously, you could have some sort of dream thoughts around (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel," said Laura Liswood. She's secretary-general of the Council of Women World Leaders.

Also proposed is the International Monetary Fund managing director. But Christine Lagarde is French. The United States, Britain, France, Russia and China are permanent Security Council members. Usually, candidates from their' countries are not considered.

Women's organizations are attending the meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women. "More women are leading businesses, governments and global organizations. At the same time, progress remains unacceptably slow," Ban told the meeting Monday.

Today, the world has fewer than 20 female heads of government. Women hold about a quarter of senior posts in the U.N. Secretariat. A female secretary-general "will be a cherry on top," said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. She heads the U.N. agency promoting equality for women.

Traditionally regions, such as Africa or Asia, take turns having someone in the top post. This would be the first turn for eastern Europe. Irina Bokova, has a nomination from Bulgaria. She's the Bulgarian Director-General of UNESCO.

All 193 U.N. member states belong to the General Assembly. But they have little voice in picking a secretary-general. The Security Council's five permanent members have veto power. The council hands a single candidate to the General Assembly for approval.

Enough, says the campaign 1 for 7 Billion. It wants more transparency and public input for the best candidate, "irrespective of his or her country of origin." The campaign doesn't demand a female secretary-general. But it points out that a woman has never held the job.

In February, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan joined former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. They called for a stronger United Nations. They said the secretary-general selection process should be more open and thorough. Brundtland is one of three women ever voted on by the Security Council as a possible U.N. chief.

"After eight 'he's' it's surely time for a 'she,'" they wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times.

Critical thinking challenge: Why would a 1946 General Assembly resolution exclude women, saying a "man of eminence and high attainment" should lead the UN?

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COMMENTS (2)
  • VanessaC-3
    3/22/2015 - 01:55 p.m.

    Since then there in now longer than its seems that there are candidates who are women and so on been first lady of the United States. Although there has never been a woman who took a stand and becomes a president within a few years and it would be the first lady to own and unite the United Nations above all from a vice president to a president. Even bringing the righteous of justice towards women and girls of all ages. I would believe that later on in the years their might once be a lady president who will rightfully take us to the right direction above all the things in the world.

  • rayen123
    7/09/2015 - 11:24 p.m.

    The text talks about the need there by the female gender of have a woman in the UN Secretary General, this has been just men and women of the world leaders say it is time that a woman take over , as they are in the same conditions as the opposite gender.
    I totally agree with this proposal , women leaders are showing increasingly good management that may have to important positions , even more than men, and it's time to give the possibility for a woman to exercise the post of UN secretary general.
    Why would a 1946 General Assembly resolution exclude women, saying a "man of eminence and high attainment" should lead the UN?
    I guess when I will get to that resolution sexism was much more present , so at that time women were not at all considered in political participation .

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