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United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) head Helen Clark poses in Paris on June 1, 2015. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Equality Now

Four women in the running for U.N. Secretary General, as Helen Clark announces bid

By WITW Staff on April 5, 2016

Former New Zealand PM and current head of the U.N. Development Programme, Helen Clark, announced on Monday that she would enter the race to succeed Ban-Ki Moon as Secretary General of the United Nations, becoming the fourth female candidate for the position, along with UNESCO’s Bulgarian head Irina Bokova, former Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic and former Moldovan Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman. Four out of eight candidates are women as of now, if any of them would be chosen for the honor, they would become the first woman to hold the position.

Clark, who was prime minister of New Zealand from 1999 until 2008 and head of the U.N. Development Programme for the last seven years, is confident she has the skills to head the U.N. as it faces “very serious challenges,” saying: “the position of secretary general is about giving a voice to 7 billion people who look to the U.N. for hope and support.”

The campaign to appoint a woman as Secretary General has steadily been picking up steam: an online Equality Now campaign with that demand has gathered more than 30,000 supporters, and in December, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power wrote a unique joint letter to all member states asking them to nominate women to the position. Clark emphasized that she considered herself the best candidate for the office regardless of her gender, saying: “I’ve never sought election as a woman.” But nevertheless, she added: “In the normal course of events I would like to see women have a fair chance, an equal chance at every leadership position.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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