At the current rate of increase during the current Secretary General’s tenure—from 20 percent in 2007 to 22 percent in 2015—it would take another 112 years to reach 50/50 gender parity in the UN’s senior leadership. If we focus on absolute numbers, 37 women in the UN’s most senior posts might seem impressive.Today, on the 107th International Women’s Day, marked by the #Pledge For Parity campaign slogan, we are reminded of just how difficult it is for any organization to reach true gender parity. However, as has been recently pointed out, the overall number of total senior staff has markedly increased overall.
At the current rate of increase during the current Secretary General’s tenure—from 20 percent in 2007 to 22 percent in 2015—it would take another 112 years to reach 50/50 gender parity in the UN’s senior leadership. If we focus on absolute numbers, 37 women in the UN’s most senior posts might seem impressive.
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And for the first time, these official nominees include women.
Still, the disappointing statistics on gender representation are not addressed to any serious degree in the most recent UN annual reports; they are instead presented as raw numbers in tables, absent any analysis.
In a speech given just last month, before 2,000 people and thousands more via web-cam, Secretary General Ban, claimed to have appointed “50 or 60 women” at the UN’s most senior level - “all Assistant-Secretary-Generals and Under-Secretary - Generals” and thereby claimed to have single-handedly “changed the whole landscape for women.” This month he claimed to “have signed nearly 150 letters of appointment to women” in these high positions. There are serious inconsistencies in official data about senior staff numbers.
Such discrepancies raise questions about the UN’s rate of progress toward gender balance in its senior ranks. Sex-differentiated tables were only introduced in 1971.
N.’s diplomatic face and contains the organization's core entities for addressing political affairs, peace and security, as well as communications.
This main organ comprises over 41,000 international staff members and is led by “Under-Secretaries-General” (USG) and “Assistant-Secretaries-General” (ASG).
Of the 112 Supreme Court Justices in history, four have been women, and three of them are currently serving. Additionally, in the UN’s most high-level body, chaired by the Secretary General - the Senior Management Group - only 12 of the team’s 39 members are women. Considering the confusing, even misleading rhetoric of the UN system that papers over the glacially slow progress in women’s share of senior staff positions at the UN Secretariat, it is important to check these findings against another source.
A visualization of the comparison of these data with the Chief Executive Board's list of “regular budget staff’ shown in Table 3 below, show how this analysis is in fact correct.