UN Leadership Achieves Gender Parity
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced that gender parity has been reached in the leadership of the UN Secretariat, with a 50/50 representation of men and women in the UN Senior Management Group.

Guterres announced five steps to addressing sexual harassment and a three-pillar approach to greater equality and inclusion for women.

2 February 2018: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced that gender parity has been reached in the leadership of the UN Secretariat, with a 50/50 representation of men and women in the UN Senior Management Group. He also outlined plans to “put greater power into the hands of women” to address sexual harassment in the organization.

Leadership of the UN reached gender parity when Guterres appointed Bience Gawanas of Namibia as Special Adviser on Africa, in January 2018. Guterres noted that this objective was fulfilled “far in advance,” referring to the timeline indicated in the system-wide strategy on gender parity, which calls for parity at senior levels by 2021 and at all levels by 2028. The system-wide strategy was launched in 2017.

On sexual harassment, Guterres acknowledged a “male-dominated culture” in governments, the private sector, international organizations and areas of civil society. He announced five steps to addressing sexual harassment that include: launching a confidential helpline for staff by mid-February; strengthening protection for whistle-blowers; stressing staff’s “duty” to call out sexual harassment; conducting a survey to determine prevalence of sexual harassment; and establishing task force to better tackle harassment and support victims.

On 16 January, in a briefing to UN Member States, Guterres provided details on a three-pillar approach to greater equality and inclusion for women. It rests on: empowering women and girls, preventing sexual exploitation and abuse, and preventing and addressing sexual harassment. He observed that the major areas of global concern in 2018, with which he framed his priorities for the year, all bear a “disproportionate impact on women.”

SDG target 5.5 calls to ‘Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.’ [UNSG Remarks to Press] [Transcript of Briefing to Member States] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on Priorities Briefing] [UN System-wide Strategy on Gender Parity]

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