Maloney urges Ban Ki-moon to make every effort to ensure successor is first woman to serve as UN Secretary-General
NEW YORK – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney today urged outgoing United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to make every effort to ensure his successor is a woman. No woman has served as Secretary General since the creation of the United Nations in 1945.
“Since the founding of the United Nations 70 years ago, no woman has ever been elected Secretary-General,” said Maloney. “Having a woman serve for the first time as the Secretary-General of the United Nations would make manifest one of the UN’s most high profile stated goals and would serve as a powerful symbol to the approximately 3.6 billion people in this world who are women. Crises around the world show the need for such leadership—from the abuses of Islamic State and the Taliban to the kidnappings of Boko Haram. Electing a woman as Secretary-General will send a clear signal that the world not only rejects the subjugation of women, but believes that women should be elevated to the highest levels of leadership.”
The World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report for 2015 shows that since 2006 an extra quarter of a billion women have entered the labor force, and yet the annual pay for women only now equals the amount men were earning ten years ago. The report also notes that the biggest progress toward closing the gender gap has been in the political world, where women now make up 19 percent of parliamentarians and 18 percent of ministers. Half of countries have had a female head of state. A woman as Secretary-General would be in keeping with these trends.
The full text of Maloney’s letter to the Secretary-General follows:
January 4, 2015
His Excellency Ban Ki-moon
405 East 42nd Street
New York, New York 10017
I commend you for your effective advocacy for the empowerment of women. From the creation of UN Women to your latest stance as a strong proponent of electing a woman as your successor, you have led by example, increasing the number of women in senior management positions to the highest level in the United Nations’ history. As you have said, “It’s high time for a Secretary-General to be a woman,” and I am writing to urge you make every effort to ensure that as many qualified women as possible are nominated to fill the post of UN Secretary-General when you step down.
I am honored to be the member of the United States Congress who represents the Congressional district in which the United Nations is headquartered and where the residence of the UN Secretary-General is located. The UN has established both the Entity for Gender and the joint United Nations project known as Womenwatch, which serves as a central gateway to information and resources on the promotion of gender equality. The UN has also created a Gender Inequality Index, which declares it is intended to stimulate “proactive thinking and public policy to overcome systematic disadvantages of women.” And it measures gender inequalities by three important aspects, including the proportion of parliamentary seats occupied by females.
Yet, since the founding of the United Nations 70 years ago, no woman has ever been elected Secretary-General. During that same time, women have served as the heads of state and government in countries ranging from Ireland to Indonesia, from Nepal to Nicaragua, and from Brazil to Burundi. Women leaders from Margaret Thatcher to Angela Merkel have dealt with all manner of international crises and have helped to shape the course of modern history.
With the end of your second term fast approaching, I believe that it is past time to make every possible and reasonable effort to see to it that a woman holds the position of UN Secretary-General. By the end of July, the Security Council is expected to have selected candidates to be your successor and then after deliberations, a name will be forwarded to the General Assembly.
The United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, in her capacity as president of the Security Council along with General Assembly President, Mogens Lykketoft, have circulated a letter to UN members soliciting names of candidates for the next SG. And they have both been quite vocal about the need to nominate women candidates for a job that is considered by many to be the world’s top diplomat post. In addition, they have both vowed to make the process more transparent and inclusive.
Having a woman serve for the first time as the Secretary-General of the United Nations would make manifest one of the UN’s most high profile stated goals and would serve as a powerful symbol to the approximately 3.6 billion people in this world who are women. I urge you to do everything in your power to see to it that suitable qualified women who will support and enhance women’s rights around the globe are nominated to fill the post of UN Secretary-General when you step down, and that you personally express your unequivocal support for finding and selecting a woman to serve as Secretary-General at the earliest possible opportunity.
Thank you for your longstanding commitment to human rights and equality before the law and for your consideration of this request. I wish you and your family a happy new year.
Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress