INTERNATIONAL: Women Still Anonymous at UN

Saturday, July 31, 2010
Bangkok Post
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security

Women have remained faceless in the supra-national body such as the United Nations with less than 15 per cent of country representatives based at the New York headquarters, according to a UN records released Friday.

An online UNelections Monitor report cited the figures kept by the UN Protocol and Liaison Service that out of 192 permanent representatives at UN Headquarters, only 26 are women.

The percentage is 13.5 per cent, the online report said. The region with the highest number (and percentage) of female ambassadors is Latin America and the Caribbean, with eight out of 33 delegations led by women.

The region with the lower number (and percentage) of female ambassadors is Africa , with three women and 50 men.

The disparity at the level of Permanent Representative was strikingly clear when the General Assembly elected the president for its 65th Session, Joseph Deiss, on June 11, and each region came forward to welcome him. All five regions were represented by male speakers, the permanent representatives of the country chairing its respective regional group.*

The online media noted that “while there is nothing to scrutinise in the regional groups' representatives that day, the obviously small proportion of female to male ambassadors at the UN is noteworthy.”

The UN member states whose delegations are led by women are Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria (Africa), Laos, Mongolia , Timor Leste , Nauru , Turkmenistan (Asia), Estonia, Hungary , Kazakhstan , Slovenia , Romania (Eastern European), Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Grenada, Honduras, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago (Latin American and Caribbean States) and Ireland, Israel , Luxembourg , Monaco , United States (from the Western European and Other States Group).