Deputy Secretary-General Hails General Assembly Resolution Proclaiming 24 June International Day of Women in Diplomacy, Calls for Gender Parity
Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the General Assembly’s adoption of a resolution on the International Day of Women in Diplomacy, in New York today:
It is a pleasure to be here today at the General Assembly’s adoption of the resolution on the “International Day of Women in Diplomacy”. I welcome the leadership of the Maldives and the core group of countries — El Salvador, Eritrea, Grenada, Guyana, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Maldives, Malta, Qatar, Saint Lucia and South Africa — in tabling this resolution, and of the co-sponsors for its broad cross-regional support.
In 2022, women represent slightly over a third of the Security Council's permanent representatives. However, this is far higher than the average, and far from enough. Evidence shows that women’s representation has not been linear, with numbers dependent on the women trailblazers we all know.
As Ghanaian barrister, politician and former minister, Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, the current Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa, has said: “Very often, this is a path you walk alone.”
As the Secretary-General often reminds us, gender equality is essentially a question of power. And historically, power has been mostly in the hands of men. Gender equality and women’s equal leadership are fundamental prerequisites for a safe, peaceful and sustainable world for all. We must all do everything possible to ensure women are at the table, our voices heard and our contributions valued.
Women bring immense benefits to diplomacy. Women’s leadership styles and priorities broaden the breadth of issues under consideration and the quality of outcomes, by making decisions more durable and inclusive.
Research shows that when women participate in peace negotiations, they are more durable. And when women serve in cabinets and parliaments, they pass laws and policies that are better for ordinary people, children, the environment and social cohesion.
Advancing positive, proactive measures to increase women’s participation in peace and political processes is vital to achieve women’s de facto equality and sustainable peace, in the context of entrenched discrimination. Addressing violence against women is also critical to protecting their ongoing participation and preventing their voices from being silenced.
The United Nations is leading by example and continues to demonstrate its commitment to women’s equal rights and empowerment within our Organization, and around the world. At the most senior level, we achieved gender parity early last year among Heads and Deputy Heads of missions, and we are working to maintain that.
In Iraq, the United Nations political messaging to boost women’s participation and counter gender-based violence and hate speech targeting women candidates contributed to the election of almost 30 per cent of women to the Council of Representatives in October 2021 — a historic achievement.
The Peacebuilding Fund is also investing in initiatives that address violence against women in politics, and promote peaceful and credible political processes, including in Guinea Bissau, Colombia and Sierra Leone.
From the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the devastating global effects of the war in Ukraine, the global challenges facing our world are many and multidimensional.
Achieving peace and sustainable development requires that we mobilize the abilities and potential of everyone. We can never succeed without the best efforts of half the population. This means taking bold action to fast-track women’s leadership and participation. I therefore welcome the tabled resolution on the International Day of Women in Diplomacy. I encourage all to see this day as an annual opportunity to reflect on the successes of women who have paved the way. And to recommit to doing everything in our power to promote the cause of women diplomats until we achieve parity in every United Nations organization, the Council and General Assembly. Thank you.