As female security officers sworn in, Ban Ki-moon stresses need for gender parity

13 August 2007

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reaffirmed his commitment to gender parity at all levels of the United Nations at an induction ceremony today at the world body’s headquarters in New York welcoming the first-ever all-female class of security officers.

The first three female security officers entered the UN over three decades ago, and this year marks the first ever with all recruits being women.

“We need to be exemplary and to be the first organization to keep the internationally-agreed commitment of having full gender balance,” Mr. Ban said at the event welcoming the 12 new female recruits to the UN family.

In his April report on UN system-wide coherence, he said that it is crucial that gender equality “remain the mandate of all United Nations entities.”

Also in attendance at today’s ceremony was Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, who said she was heartened by the entry of an all-female class of security officers.

“As I look at this class of new recruits, I see the future of this great Organization,” she told the new recruits, who begin their training today.

She noted that the General Assembly has called for 50/50 gender equality for UN staff.

“Your presence here is an important signal of the direction in which we must go to achieve this target,” Ms. Migiro said. “And we are supported by the Secretary-General himself who is taking leadership on this.”

Despite advancements – including the deployment of an all-female UN police unit in Liberia, the first in the history of UN peacekeeping – there is still much to be done before the goal of gender parity can be accomplished, she said.

Stressing that working at the UN is a “unique privilege,” the Deputy Secretary-General voiced confidence in the recruits that they will make “important and lasting contributions to our common enterprise in upholding humanity’s deepest values and highest aspirations.”

 

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