SA calls for appointment of first female UN Secretary General

Wednesday, March 15, 2023
House Chairperson for Committees, Oversight and ICT in the National Assembly, Cedric Frolick

South Africa’s Parliamentary delegation to the Inter Parliamentary Union’s 146th Assembly in Bahrain has called for the appointment of the first-ever female Secretary General of the United Nations.

If a female is elected, it would be the first time in the international body’s 75-year history.

The recommendation by the South African delegation was made to the Standing Committee on United Nations affairs at the Assembly.

House Chairperson for Committees, Oversight and ICT in the National Assembly, Cedric Frolick, said that despite the UN’s commitment to women’s rights, actual transformation has been slow.

“The General Assembly of the UN has been pioneering women’s rights as human rights since 1948 through the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that recognises… all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

“[Some] 75 years after the adoption of this milestone document, only four women have been elected as Assembly presidents and the male-female ratio for the Secretary General stands at nine to zero.

“In September 2022 when the UN’s High Level meeting of world leaders concluded, among the 190 speakers, there were only 23 women,” Frolick said.

Parliament reported that Frolick also told the committee that gender parity is imperative in leadership positions.

“Mr Frolick also told the committee that research has proven that the majority of countries with female leadership are making a difference at the national level, as they focus on laws and policies that foster gender equity and do much better in terms of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“He said this is a fact that should motivate parliamentarians and politicians to go back to their countries to campaign for the development of policies to advance gender parity, particularly in their political parties.

“South Africa is one of the 51 founding members of the United Nations since 1945. It appointed the first woman to serve as South Africa’s Ambassador to the UN since re-joining in 1994. This is a testament to the efforts the country is making to ensure there is gender equality in the UN,” Parliament said. -