Home FEATURES ‘Achieving gender parity is essential to the UN’s efficiency’ Guterres

‘Achieving gender parity is essential to the UN’s efficiency’ Guterres

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The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, September 13 launched a new strategy on gender parity as part of a system-wide campaign to achieve gender parity across the United Nations.

Speaking at the launch, António Guterres described the Strategy as “an urgent need, a moral duty, an operational necessity – and a personal priority.”  And, added that “achieving gender parity is an urgent priority not only as a basic human right, but also as it essential to the UN’s efficiency, impact and credibility.”

The strategy provides a roadmap to reach parity at the senior levels of leadership by 2021, and ultimately in 2028 across the board.

“This goal is not just about numbers, but about transforming our institutional culture so that we can access and capitalize on our full potential. It is about creating a working environment that embraces equality, eradicates bias and is inclusive of all staff”, underlines the Secretary-General.

The System-wide Strategy on Gender Parity is a framework that covers targets and accountability; special measures; an enabling environment; senior appointments; and mission settings.

A key focus of the document is the need to increase the recruitment and advancement of women – in particular in middle to senior management levels, where the gaps are the greatest and a glass-ceiling persists.

Beyond this, the strategy seeks to achieve an inclusive work force, by creating an enabling environment for men and women to contribute to their full potential. This will entail more positive use of flexible working arrangements, increasing the reach of parental leave, and the balance of personal, family and professional commitments.

A key focus of the strategy is increasing the recruitment and advancement of women, in particular in the middle to senior management levels, where the gaps are the greatest and a glass-ceiling persists.

Responsibility for next steps and implementation of the strategy will now move to entities, which are expected to develop new or revised entity-level strategies before end of year.

‘’’‘UN should be flagbearer when it comes to gender parity’

Leading this key element of the Secretary-General’s effort to create a modern Organization and workforce is Ana Maria Menéndez, his senior advisor on Policy.

“This is not only about numbers, though numbers are very important,” Ms. Menendez said in an interview with UN News. “But it also has to do with being able to attract and retain and motivate women. It also has to do with special, temporary measures when situations need to be corrected because of this parity gap.”

The special adviser said it is important for the UN to set an example in the area of gender parity, the vital role of Member States in advancing this goal, as well as other steps being taken in this area.

And this is not only about numbers, although numbers are very important. But it also has to do with being able to attract and retain and motivate women.

Indicating the urgent need for “special, temporary measures when situations need to be corrected because of this parity gap,” Ana Maria Menéndezsaid that at the beginning of 2017, the situation in the UN system was that there were 50 per cent women at beginner careers (P1, P2) and only 29 per cent women in senior positions.

Refering to the UN as a “standard-setting Organization”, Ana Maria Menéndez said it is “important that we lead by example, that we enact the principles that we stand for, and that we serve the peoples of the world.”  She added that the UN needs to learn from member states and CEOS that have implemented parity measures