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There Are A Bunch Of Women Running To Lead The UN But A Man Still Might Win Again
NGOs, diplomats, and regular people have been expecting the United Nations to finally choose a woman to head the body for the first time in its history. But guess who's in the lead? Yep! Two dudes.
This year will be the last in outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's second term and the race is on to replace him — and people have ~opinions~ on who it should be.
The most common of those opinions stems from the fact that every single UN leader since the body was founded in 1945 has had one thing in common: they have all been men.
The position isn't exactly "President of the World" like some people might think, but more like a Chief Administrator of the UN, who keeps the organization itself actually running. It also can be seen as a bully pulpit for calling attention to some of the world's worst crises.
The role of Secretary-General has rotated around the various regions of the world — hitting up all of the UN's official regional blocs except for Eastern Europe so far — but not a single woman has been named Secretary-General.
The call for a woman to lead the UN has grown in recent months, especially after a number of prominent female candidates have thrown their hats into the ring.
They include: Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and head of the United Nations Development Programme; Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica, the former head of the UN's climate change body; and Bulgaria's Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO and a potential two-fer as an Eastern European.
The whole process is usually super opaque, which we'll get into more in a second, but this time around, the UN has been praising itself on its transparency.
So after all that, who's in the lead for the top job you ask? Who could she possibly be?
That's right the current leader in the race to replace Ban is former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.
So how can this be? How, after months of campaigning and pressure from outside groups, can Guterres be in the lead?
It all comes down to the fact that how the Secretary-General gets chosen is already written into stone at this point — or at least the UN Charter.
That means the 15-member Security Council is the group that actually chooses the new leader, and the five permanent members — the US, UK, France, China, and Russia — are able to veto any candidate outright.
Before the actual vote is held, the council holds a series of informal "straw poll" votes to determine where everyone stands. The first one was conducted on Thursday.
The results, according to Foreign Policy were...not great for the women candidates, save Bokova, who came in third. In second place: Danilo Turk, former president of Slovenia.
When the results came out, "we were absolutely shocked that it's still the old boys' network," Dr. Jean Krasno, chair of the WomanSG Campaign, told BuzzFeed News.
Making matters even more opaque is that who cast each vote is still a secret, so there's no way of knowing if any of the votes of discouragement could potentially turn into a veto.
But who knows? There's still time before the next session of the General Assembly — when the official vote in the Security Council will take place — actually kicks off in September.