The United Nations Has a Women’s Leadership Problem - Women’s Media Center

“Who knows, maybe COVID-19 will be the trigger to finally see a woman secretary-general?” via WMC's @the_fbomb

6/11/2021 12:18:00 AM

“Who knows, maybe COVID-19 will be the trigger to finally see a woman secretary-general?” via WMC's the_fbomb

According to the UN Secretariat Gender Parity Dashboard, while women compose nearly 57% of entry-level P-2 positions, they comprise only 38% of D-2 positions, the highest level of employment in the U.N.

explicit defense of women’s rights, the U.N. has made legislative efforts to be gender inclusive in its core documents.Not only did the U.N. create an entity dedicated entirely to ensuring just standards for gender equality globally (UN Women), but gender equality also permeates the commitments and initiatives of other departments and is evident across the organization’s multilateral efforts. Peacekeeping, a primary U.N. sector, has attempted to tackle the roots of oppressive norms and constructs in conflict zones

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via Resolution 1325. Adopted by the Security Council in 2000, the resolution reaffirms the importance of women in peacebuilding, security, humanitarian responses, negotiations, and conflict resolution.Ultimately, the structural flaws of the organization perpetuate gender discrimination within it — the U.N. approaches gender inclusion and reform through top-down and legislative efforts, which are insufficient.

Perhaps now more than ever before is the best time for the U.N. to fully address this issue. Women-led countries’ success with the pandemic could spur the prioritization of women politicians in leadership positions across the globe. In arecent study, the correlation between national female leadership and their effectiveness in handling the COVID-19 pandemic confirmed the media headlines. Countries led by women, such as Denmark and New Zealand, have had systematically better COVID-19 outcomes with fewer COVID-related deaths. They have acted efficiently and effectively in implementing social distancing restrictions and unifying their country around a comprehensive plan of attack against the virus. As Margaret Thatcher said in a speech to the

National Union of Townswomen’s Guilds Conference in 1965, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”What’s more, women’s leadership is becoming more desirable against mounting evidence of hypermasculine leadership breeding negative consequences of international gravity, including but not limited to during the pandemic. For example, Trump’s nonchalant, “macho” approach to the severity of the pandemic led to public opinion that undermined its gravity.

As new empirical evidence for the need for women in leadership positions arises, feminists across the globe anxiously await the domino effect we may witness with the U.N. and gender disparity in leadership. Who knows, maybe COVID-19 will be the trigger to finally see a woman secretary-general?

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