This Campaign Wants The U.N. To Elect Its First Woman Secretary General

But the U.N. itself has never had a woman in its top job, that of secretary general. Equality Now, a global women’s rights organisation, has launched a campaign to encourage the U.N. to pick a woman when it elects a new boss next year.

The campaign is asking people to petition the countries that make up the U.N. Security Council, which traditionally selects a candidate who is then ratified by the other U.N. member states, to support female candidates. Ban Ki Moon, the eighth secretary general in the U.N.’s 70-year history, will step down at the end of 2016.

The Equality Now campaign says the U.N. has too few women in top jobs overall, pointing to a U.N. assessment of its staff in 2013 that says women make up just 27–30% of its top two professional tiers.

The U.N. is still doing much better than many private companies in this regard though. A CNN study last month of hundreds of the biggest companies listed on U.S. stock markets showed that women occupied around 14% of the top-level jobs. They make up less than 9% of the executive directors at the biggest listed companies in the U.K. and hold less than a quarter of board positions, according to a report last month cited by the Financial Times.

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