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Why is Kofi Annan not a woman? - Gender & leadership at the United Nations

Andreas von Warburg and Erika Suban  |  Unrated |  DVD

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Since its foundation in 1945, the United Nations has been struggling to achieve gender balance at the Secretariat and improve the status of women in the UN system. The United Nation is still not the most hospitable place for women and does not seem fully committed to repair the imbalance. In the past decade, a few women have been appointed at the helm of Agencies, Funds, and Programs worldwide, but no woman has ever had the opportunity to lead the Organization as Secretary-General. Now that Ban Ki-moon has taken over from Kofi Annan as the eight Secretary-General, it seems clear that the UN has a long way to go in order to achieve the goals set in 1995 at the Beijing's 4th World Conference on Women, chiefly among those a 50/50 gender distribution within the Secretariat by the year 2000. "Why is Kofi Annan not a woman?" aims at exploring gender and leadership issues within the United Nations, as well as the recent developments towards a more gender-balanced management. In March 2006, in his address for the celebrations of International Women's Day, Annan said, "the world is ready for a woman Secretary-General." Is the statement an important step forward for the United Nations and its leadership? Is it a considerable achievement for all women around the world? Mechanisms established by the General Assembly to improve gender balance at all professional levels have not yet been put in place and women, especially those in high ranking positions, still feel discriminated against. Many still see the United Nations and the world of international relations as a "boys club" domain, still closed to women.

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