SMALL STATES - Our series exploring how the UN and others can better serve these countries →

50-50: Bridging the UN’s Gender Gap [Video]


As Colombia leads a group of dozens of nations to promote a woman as the next United Nations secretary-general, when Ban Ki-moon leaves office at the end of 2016, these same voices are also demanding gender equality inside the UN, especially at senior and high-policymaking levels.

It’s not surprising that women who work at the UN or in its environment express major frustration over why they remain stuck, for the most part, outside important positions of power in 2015, 20 years after the Beijing declaration pledged equality for women worldwide.

At the UN, it is often said that the organization should be setting an example of gender equality inside its own four walls, given its universal membership — 193 countries. And various countries and their delegations acknowledge efforts made by the UN, including by Ban, to promote and respect gender equality and women’s empowerment, but they also say that these gains have not been enough.

Don't miss a  story,  Subscribe to PassBlue

U. Joy Ogwu, left, Nigeria’s ambassador to the UN, and Zainab Hawa Bangura, the UN’s envoy on sexual violence in conflict, August 2015. RICK BAJORNAS/UN PHOTO

And so, coupled with a new resolution underway in the General Assembly to revitalize its work, the push by Argentina, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Japan, Qatar and many other nations to have a woman secretary-general installed for the next term is just one part of their overarching goal to guarantee equal opportunities for women in gaining access to senior decision-making positions in the UN.

In this video, produced exclusively for PassBlue by Ryan Villarreal, longtime UN observers and those who have worked inside the world body wonder why gender parity, an international goal that formally surfaced in 1994 at the conference on population and development in Cairo, stays stubbornly out of reach across the UN system.

As Cora Weiss, a New Yorker and women’s rights and peace activist, says in the video, “So, we don’t lose anything by bringing women to the table, and we have the potential to gain a lot.” — DULCIE LEIMBACH, EDITOR


We welcome your comments on this article.  What are your thoughts?

Ryan Villarreal is a news curator for Facebook. Previously, he was a videographer for Columbia University, where he was a production coordinator and assistant editor for an online education project. He has a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

We would love your thoughts. Please comment:

50-50: Bridging the UN’s Gender Gap [Video]
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Related Posts


Global Connections Television - The only talk show of its kind in the world

Subscribe to PassBlue


Don't miss a story

Subscribe now to send the smartest news

on the UN directly to your inbox.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously