Gender Parity at the United Nations
Last week, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres announced that the United Nations achieved gender parity among its leadership for the first time in the organization's history, with an equal number of male and female resident coordinators, who comprise the UN’s team leadership around the world serve as the Secretary General's designated country representatives. Guterres has made gender parity within the United Nations a priority; in September 2017, he launched a system-wide strategy to advance this goal, and in January 2018, he obtained full gender parity in his Senior Management Group. As the United Nations grapples with internal accusations of sexual assault, the Secretary General has called gender parity essential "to end the power imbalances that contribute to sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse."
Record Numbers of Women Run in Iraq
An historic number of women participated in Iraq’s general elections on Sunday, with a total 2,592 women standing for election, comprising one third of all candidates. Many of these women faced unprecedented smear campaigns, leading the United Nations’ Special Representative to the Secretary General for Iraq to issue a statement condemning the defamation and online harassment of female Iraqi candidates. Iraq reserves 25 percent of parliamentary seats for women, and in 2014, twenty-two women won seats outside this quota. While results are not final, preliminary counts suggest a surprising victory for the Sairoun Alliance, a coalition of the Iraqi Communist Party and supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Sairoun’s success will provide a seat for women’s rights activist Suhad al-Khatib, who said she ran at the urging of her students and colleagues.
Closing the Gender Gap in London
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, launched a city-wide leadership scheme to increase the number of women in senior positions and reduce the gender pay gap, making London the first public authority to do so. London’s gender pay gap is the largest in England, and its rate of maternal employment is 8 percent lower than the rest of the country. The new initiative will pair promising women with senior staff members across the public sector, including the Office for Policing and Crime, Transport for London, and the Greater London Authority, and Khan hopes the program will be adopted by local councils. A similar initiative at Sky TV & Broadband helped the company increase women in senior leadership positions from 31 percent in 2016 to 39 percent in 2018.