Historic change

U.N. leaders call for a woman to replace Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in 2017

Current UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon (C) and , Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova (2ndL), who has been named as a possible nominee, arrive at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.(FRED DUFOUR/AFP/GettyImages)

The time has come for a woman to run the United Nations, the president of the U.N. Assembly and more than 40 countries have declared in recent months as the term of current Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon comes to a close next year.

“In 70 years, the U.N. has never had a female Secretary General,” Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft told the Security Council last month. “I am absolutely confident that there are any number of potential female candidates.” Forty-two countries have announced their support for a female successor to Ban Ki-Moon, who will step down on December 31, 2016, according to The Associated Press. Representatives from countries on the Permanent Five – Britain, France, Russia, China, and the United States – will begin their selection process in early 2015 and must agree on a nominee to be voted on by the 193 member nations, likely by the middle of 2016, according to the report.

In the run-up to that nominating process, several organizations have launched campaigns pushing for a female secretary general, including Equality Now, Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, The Elders, and Woman SG. Names that have been floated as possible nominees includes UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova of Bulgaria and Vesna Pusić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia. Both women have already been nominated by their countries for consideration.

“To have a female U.N. leader would be a historic change,” Gillian Sorensen, the former Assistant Secretary General, told Elle. “It would send an important message to the world, and it would embody the statement in the U.N. Charter that refers to the deep commitment to the equality of women and men.”

Read the full story at Elle.

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