The next UN secretary-general: 7 women to consider

Will the next U.N. secretary-general be a woman?

In its 70 years of existence, the U.N. has never been led by a woman. But as current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon prepares to step down at the end of 2016 after two five-year terms, there’s clamor for change.

In mid-December, the presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council jointly released a letter inviting member states to nominate candidates.

Several campaigns are well underway to push for a female candidate, including efforts from The Elders, composed of eminent retired statesmen and women and chaired by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, as well as global women leader’s group Woman SG. But representatives from countries on the Permanent Five — Britain, France, Russia, China and the United States — must all agree on a nominee to be voted on by the 193 member nations later this year. 

Names already floating around include UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of Bulgaria and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Check out the slideshare to find out what other women might be considered, and leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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