The United Nations of women, or not

Of the 193 world leaders speaking at the UN this week, very few are women.

World leaders are gathering this week in New York for the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Of those, only a few are women.

As of the end of the day today, 150 world leaders would have addressed the delegates at UNGA. Only 12 are women, less than 10 percent:

  • Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile
  • Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President of Croatia
  • Dalia Grybauskaite, President Lithuania
  • Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh
  • Hilda Heine, President of the Marshall Islands
  • Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia
  • Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • Isatou Njie Saidy, Vice President of Gambia
  • Delcy Eloina Rodriguez Gomez, Foreign Minister of Venezuela
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Foreign Minister of Myanmar
  • Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway
  • Margot Wallstrom, Foreign Minister of Sweden

UNGA’s general debate will close September 26. By then, a total of 193 world leaders would have address the assembly.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May addressing the UN General Assembly (UN Photo)

Meanwhile, the UN is looking for a new Secretary-General, as Ban Ki-moon is about to step down at the end of December after his 10-year tenure.

In a recent post here on Medium, Keith Muggeridge-Breene, Senior Writer at the World Economic Forum, featured the women in the running to replace Ban at the helm of the United Nations. Since then, some of them have withdrawn from the race. The remaining four candidates are Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, director-general of UNESCO; Helen Clark of New Zealand, head of UN Development (UNDP); Natalia Gherman of Moldova, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and Deputy Prime Minister; and Susana Malcorra of Argentina, Foreign Minister and former Chief of Staff to Ban Ki-moon.

Susana Malcorra (photo Loey Felipe/UN); Natalia Gherman (photo Wilson Center); Helen Clark (photo Xinhua/Li Muzi); Irina Bokova (photo UNESCO).

Of the 12 official candidates running for the UN top post, only nine are remaining and according to informal straw polls, António Guterres of Portugal seems the favorite.