Network: The UN Women's Newsletter
  Vol. 5. No. 3/2001 See Also: Other Issues  

Table of Contents for the Issue

From the desk of the Focal Point

Dear All,

The Secretary-General's report to the General Assembly on the Improvement of the Status of Women in the United Nations System (A/56/472) was presented in October 2001. It points, as always, to both successes and challenges.

  • On the geographical posts, the percentage of women professionals remains above 40% (40.1); however gender distribution among all staff has decreased from 36.5% to 34.6%. In addition, the number of women in the General Service category remains high at 63%.
  • Gender distribution at the D-1 level remains constant at 30.1%. However, at the senior level, D-1 and above, combined growth has been minimal increasing from 24.7 (June 2000) to 24.8 per cent (June 2001).
  • The number of promotions of women, particularly at the P-4 level, has risen (from 41.3 to 51.3%). At the P-3 level promotions increased from 50.9 to 53.8%. However, in absolute terms, number of women declined at the P-3 level from 40.2 to 36.9%.
  • In the overall selection of staff for vacancies, four more departments, over and above the ten of last year, met their gender target this year. Yet, in five offices, women still accounted for less than 30 per cent of staff selected (OCSS, UNMOVIC, ECA, DDA, OCHA).
  • Out of the 46 Special and Personal Representatives and Envoys of the Secretary-General, none are women. And, only one woman is a Deputy Head of Mission (MINUGUA).

For further details please see our statistical summary at the end of this issue of Network.

On another front, the working group set up by the Special Adviser Ms. Angela King, has met to enhance and consolidate UN procedures and policies to deal with harassment, including sexual harassment. The group comprises of representatives from UNDP, UNICEF, Panel of Counsel, OHRM, JAB/JDC and the Group on Equal Rights for Women. The group has examined the existing policy, identifying gaps and suggesting remedies in areas such as points of entry, confidentiality, investigation and training. The working groups also noted that mediation was absent as a component of the informal part of the process. In essence, it is the intention of the working group to undertake a comprehensive review of the process, suggesting modifications, completeness and effectiveness of policy designed to address harassment in the work place.

I thank you personally for your support and look forward to contributing as a facilitator and advocate to issues of representation and common interest.

In solidarity,
Aparna Mehrotra

Around the UN


As of 1 August 2001, 168 States parties have ratified the Convention. 72 State parties have signed the Optional Protocol (as of 16 November 2001), and 28 have ratified or acceded to it.

At its 25th session in July 2001, Guyana reported that one of the goals in the advancement of women has been to achieve a critical mass of women in all areas of decision-making, and to attempt to systematically reorient male-dominated values and priorities. The Committee applauded Guyana for having achieved 30 per cent female representation in the Parliament. The country also had for a period women as President, Chief Justice and President of the Bar Association.

The next CEDAW session to be held from 14 January through 1 February 2002 in New York will review country reports from Estonia, Fiji, Iceland, Trinidad and Tobago, Portugal, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka and Uruguay.


The substantive session of the Economic and Social Council adopted a resolution on 24 July 2001 entitled "Mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations system" (E/2001/L.29). The resolution states that "gender mainstreaming is an integral part of all its activities concerning integrated and coordinated follow-up to United Nations conferences." Gender mainstreaming will be a regular sub-item on the ECOSOC agenda in order to "monitor, evaluate achievements made and obstacles encountered by the United Nations system, and to consider further measures to strengthen the implementation and monitoring of gender mainstreaming within the United Nations system".

The Council also adopted a number of other resolutions: on women and girls in Afghanistan; multi-year programme of work for the Commission on the Status of Women for 2002-2006; and thematic issues for the Commission on the Status of Women.

Did you know that

Mentoring programme for young professionals

The Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM) launched a one-year mentoring pilot programme for young professionals in New York and in Geneva in October 2001. The purpose of the programme is to provide a career support mechanism for new young professionals, to facilitate their entry into the Organization; and to complement the initiation, training and coaching offered by their direct supervisors.

In the first pilot round, 17 young professionals in New York and 15 in Geneva were assigned experienced professional colleagues (from P-4 to D-1 levels) as mentors. It is hoped that the relationships would be mutually beneficial and rewarding. Mentors and mentees are expected to meet for two hours every month for one year.

In December 2001, the mentoring programme will be launched formally as an integral part of the one-week Orientation and Developing Programme for New Professionals recruited through the national competitive examinations. During this programme 25 young professionals will participate in a workshop and will be matched with mentors from different duty stations. To facilitate a broader knowledge of the Organization, the mentors and mentees will not necessarily come from the same occupational groups or duty stations.

For more information, please contact Barbara Steinberg in OHRM/New York.

A special welcome to the UN family to:

Ms. Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl of Austria who has started as Assistant Director for UN Affairs and Special Representative of the Director-General in the New York office of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as of 1 May 2001. She is former Ambassador of Austria at the UN Office at Vienna.

Ms. Imelda Henkin of the Netherlands, who is the new Deputy Executive Director (Management) of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). She took up her post on 1 April 2001 at the level of Assistant Secretary General.

Ambassador Rita Hayes of the United States, who has been appointed Deputy Director General in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as of 1 December 2001. Ambassador Hayes has previously been the U.S. Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization, and she served as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative in Geneva since 1997.

Congratulations to new D-2 women in the Secretariat:

Ms. Mona Hammam of Egypt who has been appointed Director, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children in Armed Conflict, EOSG. Ms. Hammam joins us from the World Food Programme.

Ms. Sumru Noyan of Turkey who is the new Director of the Division for Operations and Analysis in the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention in Vienna.

Ms. Keiki Okaido of Japan, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Ms. Xian Zhang of China who has been appointed Director, Translation and Editorial Division, DGAACS/New York.

Recognition to:

Ms. Laura Canuto of Italy who has been appointed as Deputy Head of the UN Mission for the Verification of Human Rights in Guatemala, (MINUGUA) at the D-1 level as of 1 October 2001. Ms. Canuto joins us from the UN Office for Project Services.

Ms. Angela Mackay of Canada who has been appointed Chief of the Gender Affairs Unit at the UN Mission in Kosovo as of 3 January 2002.

Interview of Ms. Aparna Mehrotra, Focal Point for Women in the UN Secretariat

Network briefly introduced Ms. Mehrotra in the previous issue. Ms. Mehrotra joined us on 24 September 2001, and Network asked her about her visions as an activist and about current issues related to the status of women in the Secretariat.

Q: What is your underlying vision on reaching gender equality in the Secretariat?

A: It would be presumptuous for me to expand on this in absolute and certain terms. I am fully cognizant of my need to learn. I come from 18 years in a different system, and the fact is that systems are not yet harmonized across the UN. The work methods, process and culture are indeed different in each. In addition, people make the difference, and I am yet to meet the large majority of those with whom I shall have the pleasure and privilege to work. I am trying to undertake my rounds of introductions, largely to gain the benefit of experience and insight of others. These shall lay the foundations of my own impressions and perhaps more longer standing visions. Basically, however, I believe the General Assembly target of 50/50 across levels is truly founded on the principle of proportional representation - a longstanding principle of democratic governance. If individuals buy into this principle, for which the UN must logically serve as model, then I believe we will succeed. It may be a challenge, but we will prevail. The principle is sound and transformational.

Q: What drives you?

A: Thank you for asking this question. First, I stress that we are called human beings for a reason - it is our humanity and our state of evolution in this dimension that distinguishes us. We are not called manager beings, or professional beings or what have you. I think this is both deeply meaningful as well as a yardstick, irrespective of our station and function in life.

Secondly, I feel convinced that we must be the change that we want to see in the world. These are Gandhi's words, repeated recently in The New York Times in a full-page advertisement. I believe these words are fundamental. The gender movement, like other social movements, is about justice and about humanizing. We cannot enter the next century without adequate representation and without a change of the paradigm, which is what I hope women's contribution will truly be. This would be a more humane and just paradigm, which is what I hope will be women's true contribution. For that paradigm to prevail, we the women, must individually reflect the paradigm. George Bernard Shaw said that example is not one way to influence matters. It is the only way.

Thirdly, I believe that emotion and the force of both character and conviction have allowed all movements to succeed where they have. The 19th century witnessed the movement of equality between races; the 20th century the equality between countries; and the 21st century, I believe, the equality between sexes. The movements succeeded, not because they wielded the power of the state, but rather, because they wielded the emotional power that comes of deep and organized conviction combating injustice and inequality. Hence, while I put due emphasis on competence of the intellect, I place greater emphasis on character at large; that includes the heart where in essence conviction and humanity reside. This is what we will need, together with appropriate tactic to achieve our goals.

Q: How do you substantiate this?

A: Many of the worst crises, where murder and mayhem have characterized the situations, are due in my opinion not to a crisis of the intellect, but rather to one of the heart of deeper humanistic values such as compassion an tolerance. If you eliminate or override the heart, it has the effect of removing it - and, without the heart, humans neither survive nor produce. Cambodia, Rwanda and Sebrenica are more recent examples. I do not believe that any amount of intellect alone could have salvaged the crises.

Q: How do you see yourself?

A: I will personally always strive to be human; to place character above the intellectual alone; to be the change that I wish to see and, to remember the turtle. The turtle only makes progress when it sticks its neck out - of course, in the context of gender and its interests. I want to add that the turtle has a thick skin, with a soft interior and an easily accessible hard shell for protection. This is the philosophy that provides the strength and the compass. The actions, however, need to provide the change.

Q: What important actions do you see ahead?

A: On the operational front my initial impressions consist of:

  1. The issue of UN reform. The reform looms large, and we must be careful to preserve the spirit and fact of the special measures for women in it. The General Assembly resolutions clearly provide the mandate for gender equality, but we are now working on the details essential to effective implementation. Perhaps a comparison of the process that currently is and its corresponding new proposed process at every stage would best clarify the matter. We need to identify the most effective entry points in the new process and how they constitute improvement over the current one.

    In this context, we welcome comments. It may be in the interest of all to take the time to carefully read the draft issuance for the new recruitment, mobility and promotion system, and to examine it for required modification with a view to ensuring appropriate gender entry points.
  2. Reaching the 50/50 gender target. Momentum must be retained on reaching the goal and, maintaining it. The Human Resource Action Plans which set gender and other targets for each department, are instrumental in this objective. The integration of Gender Action Plans into these constitutes very significant and desirable progress. This integration represents yet one more step towards the objective of mainstreaming gender into all aspects of work, including the most operationally fundamental human resource management and its implementational instruments. However, effective monitoring becomes essential; we all know that post facto remedy is next to impossible in recruitment and placement matters. In essence, you can not fairly "unplace' an individual post facto.
  3. Decentralization. Clearly there are risks. Without losing the spirit of reform, which prioritises decentralization, we must work to ensure that checks and balances are put in place. This highlights, the importance of both language outlining process in the current proposal as well as the need for training at each level of that process.
  4. Redefinition of the role of Focal Points for Women. Departmental panels are abolished under the new system, and the role of the Focal Points needs to be re-crafted, not eliminated. This will be the challenge.
  5. General Service staff concerns. Women constitute 63% of staff in the General Service category. No measure will truly represent improvement unless their concerns are heard, their insights gathered and, constructive requests for change realized.
  6. Mentoring. The new OHRM programme provides a good entry point for advocacy. It also allows us to contribute as individuals to other newer individuals, and to keep the pain of adjustment and sometimes disillusionment for new staff at bay. This in itself may be rejuvenating for us as well.
  7. Finally, there is the primacy of policy. While one of the functions of the Office of the Focal Point is to address individual cases of grievance, it is also clear that our focus must remain on the trends and lessons that such cases provide for policy development. We look forward to hearing from staff with respect to roadblocks in the current policy and processes that need to be addressed.

In particular, we are currently engaged in the process of revisiting the policy dealing with harassment emanating both from a gender basis - sexual harassment - as well as abuse of power. We welcome your involvement in its formulation.

Ms. Aparna Mehrotra can be reached at extension 3-6828 and by email at

Women and peacekeeping - a follow-up

"Gender and peacekeeping" training sessions

The Training and Evaluation Service (TES) in DPKO has developed an in-mission gender training package "Gender and peacekeeping". The project has been spearheaded by Ms. Angela Mackay, the TES gender project leader, who tested the training materials in the UN Mission in East Timor (UNTAET) in 2000, and in the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) in the spring of 2001.

The aim of the training project is "to strengthen peacekeeping operations by providing training which will enable peacekeepers to integrate a gender awareness into all their activities." The objectives are:

  1. to inform peacekeepers of how the relationship between men and women and their gender roles and responsibilities are changed by the experience of conflict;
  2. to develop basic skills which help peacekeepers recognize the different needs, capacities and expectations of women and men in the host population;
  3. to make peacekeepers aware of gender implications of their actions.

In UNTAET, 130 military, civilian police, and East Timorese civilian police participated in the training. TES developed two training packages: one pre-deployment package for Troop Contributing Countries, and one for Field Missions and Mission Training Cells. The next phase of the gender project is the 'training of the trainers" course. This phase executed the complete in-mission package in two training sessions that took place in the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC, October 2001), and in the UN Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL, October-November 2001).

Other notes

Rural women and globalization

One of the reports presented to the Third Committee of the General Assembly this year was the Report of the Secretary-General on the improvement of the situation of women in rural areas (A/56/268)

The objective of the report is to examine the impact of major global trends, such as the growth in rural non-farm economic activities, the liberalization of trade and markets for agricultural products, the acceleration in the commercialization of agriculture, and the rapid diffusion of products, technologies, information and consumption patterns on rural women. The report also proposes a policy agenda to maximise the beneficial effects of globalization for women within the context of ongoing social and economic changes in rural areas.

The report points out inter alia:

  • Women's employment opportunities have diversified and increased, particularly in the area of labour migration. These have a strong effect in terms of increased autonomy, self-esteem and expansion of choices and decision-making power within and outside of the household. In some situations, these changes are contributing to the weakening of traditional gender values and norms of the society thus contributing to gender equality.
  • Simultaneously however, increased employment and migration have often been associated with poor working conditions, low pay, the lack of work-related benefits, exposure to the risks of violence and exploitation, and the continuation of the unequal distribution of domestic responsibilities at home.
  • Increased economic volatility, job insecurity and often losses of livelihoods experienced within the global economy might increase gender disparities in the long run as the benefits for women from paid employment are often short-lived.
  • Due to existing inequalities between women and men worldwide the impact of globalization has gender differentials. The extent to which women can benefit from globalization depends on existing local contexts, gender relations, class and ethnic divisions as well as regional disparities.

On the Spot -- Senior General Service Staff member, Ms. Denise Jaen, ICSC

Network asked Ms. Jaen, who has worked at the UN for the past 27 years, to say what advice she would give to other women UN staff members and colleagues. What is the secret to her success? Here is her perspective on working at the UN.

Having been with the United Nations since I was 17 and half years old, and having grown up in this Organization, I would like to share some of my thoughts and experiences.

I would like to start by stating that I am so proud to see so many women functioning in key roles in the Organization, several of whom are friends and colleagues of mine. The representation of women has changed significantly since 1973, when I joined the United Nations. These women have some of the brightest minds, and I truly love their spunk and spirit. They have fought hard and came up through the ranks. Working mothers impress me the most. They are clearly holding two full time jobs. I admire their dedication to their duties and responsibilities in the workplace and their dedication to their families. I sometimes wonder how they balance it all.

When I started in 1973, I was recruited to work in the Executive Office of the Office of General Services, which later became the Department of Administrative and Management, and is now the Department of Management. I remained in that office for 27.5 years. I worked with the best of the best in that Department, men and women alike. I learned a lot from so many people that I worked for and worked with, both in the Executive Office and within the Department. When I decided that I didn't want to make the United Nations Guinness Book of Records for being in the same office for 38 years (if I opted for retirement at age 55, or for 43 years if I opted for retirement at age of 60), I decided to apply for a lateral position with ICSC. I will be indebted forever to my colleague in the Executive Office, Ms. Cecilia Nadres, who informed me of the position, having applied for it herself. How rare and sweet is that.

In my career of 28.5 years, I, like most of us, have had my share of disappointments. The key to survival, in my opinion, is to look on the bright side or look for the positive in every difficult situation or obstacle we encounter. I believe that everything in life happens for a reason. We do not always know why things happen the way they do and when they do, but you must believe that there is a time and place for everything. If you witness or experience injustices in the system that remain uncorrected, move on. Do not allow your spirit to be poisoned.

Even though the United Nations has been my only source of employment, I am convinced that it is no different in the corporate world, because people are people wherever you go. I have some hobbies that keep me happy and busy, and I just keep on trucking. Life is too short to be dwelling on the negative.

In conclusion, I will always do everything in my power to share with others the blessings that I have been fortunate enough to have received.

In your interest

New policy on paternity leave in effect in UNDP

Since August 2001, UNDP offers staff members the possibility of taking paternity leave. This policy follows the structure of the UNDP policy on adoption leave. Staff members can take up to eight weeks paid leave at any time during the six-month period following the child's birth. The staff member can also request to break the leave period into two periods, provided that the second period begins during the six-month period following the child's birth.

UNFPA Work and Life Programme

UN Population Fund implemented a new work and life policy as of 1 July 2001 (UNFPA/CM/01/46). The Programme consists of a broad range of themes including flexible work arrangements, child-care, special leave and spouse employment.

The new circular issued gives details on flexible working hours; part-time work; job sharing; compressed work schedules; scheduled breaks for external activities such as university courses; and special leave without pay. UNFPA continued offering flexible working hours and the option for part-time work (50% of full working hours) that can be taken in one block of 2.5 days a week.

Under the new arrangement, two staff members can share one job on a 50/50 basis. Entitlements and benefits of each staff member will be prorated with medical, dental and life insurance to be paid in full. This arrangement requires the agreement of both supervisors to the arrangement for a period of six to twelve months. Another new option introduced is that staff members can extend their work days by an extra 45 minutes per day (compressed work schedules). This will allow staff to take every second Friday off. Also, where the nature of the work permits, staff members may spend up to two days per week working from an alternative work site. Staff members bear the costs from carrying out their assignments from a remote work place themselves (computer, use of internet).

UNICEF guidelines for spouse employment

In June 2001 UNICEF issued guidelines (CF/AI/2001-016) concerning the employment of spouses of staff members as professional, general service or national professional staff. UNICEF offices will, to the extent possible, assist spouses of international staff members seeking employment. Two situations are prioritized:

  1. the spouse of a staff member serving in an emergency duty station, elects to remain in another duty station in order to be near the spouse, and seeks employment in a UNICEF or UN office at that location;
  2. the spouse already serving as staff member either resigns or takes special leave without pay in order to accompany his/her spouse, and now seeks to continue his/her employment in UNICEF or another UN agency.

UNCEF staff members' spouses can apply for vacant professional or general service posts, be recruited for temporary assignments; or as individual contractors or consultants. The document includes guidelines for rotation of dual-career couples in UNICEF. The heads of UNICEF offices are asked to work with UN country teams to establish and maintain a roster of UN spouses seeking employment at the duty station; and to ensure that all interested and eligible spouses are kept aware and informed of both short and long term job opportunities. Also there are guidelines concerning special leave without pay for accompanying spouses on assignments in or outside of UN/UNICEF. UNICEF human resources officers are responsible for gathering materials on employment opportunities in the duty stations

Gender Mainstreaming -- Looking at the work programme of the UN through a gender lens
By Carolyn Hannan, Principal Officer for Gender mainstreaming
Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women

In addition to the work being carried out by the Departmental Focal Points to promote gender equality within the United Nations itself - work on gender balance, gender-sensitive work environments and harassment issues - systematic efforts are also being made throughout the United Nations to ensure that gender perspectives are identified and addressed in all areas of the work programme. This is what is referred to as gender mainstreaming - the strategy to ensure that gender perspectives are being given attention in all substantive work programmes.

Efforts are being made to identify the gender perspectives which need to be taken up in all areas of the work of the United Nations - political affairs, legal affairs, peace and security, disarmament, humanitarian affairs and social and economic development, including macro-economics, public administration, environment, social development and demography. The most effective ways of addressing these gender perspectives are being sought in all the different types of activities that professional staff in the United Nations are involved with. This includes servicing of intergovernmental bodies, research, policy analysis and policy development, publications; work with statistics; organizing expert group meetings or training programmes; different types of field-level operations; technical cooperation as well as information and outreach.

Network of Gender Focal Points

The responsibility for ensuring that gender issues are integrated into the substantive work programmes throughout the United Nations Secretariat lies with the senior management. Senior managers are supported in this role by Gender Focal Points who should promote, facilitate and monitor the efforts of colleagues to give greater attention to gender perspectives in their work. A network of all Gender Focal Points was recently established in the Secretariat. Training, briefing sessions and regular meetings will be organised to provide the Gender Focal Points with the necessary capacity development, advice and support to allow them to play an effective role. The Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI) and the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) can provide back-up support to the Gender Focal Points on request.

Gender mainstreaming: More than participation of women

While increasing the participation of women is a critical element in gender mainstreaming, it is equally important to identify the linkages between gender perspectives and the substantive issues in different activities of the United Nations. The increased representation of women -- however positive this may be in and of itself -- is not enough to ensure that relevant gender perspectives are identified and addressed in the work programmes, and that the processes and outcomes of development are appropriately influenced.

Capacity building for gender mainstreaming

A Competence Development Programme for Gender Mainstreaming has been developed by OSAGI and OHRM to support individual professionals to develop an understanding of the relevant gender perspectives and entry-points for addressing them in their work programmes. The programme is currently being implemented in the Department for Economic and Social Affairs. The programme, which involves small working group sessions as well as one-day workshops, provides an opportunity for discussion of concepts; analysis of case studies to further develop understanding of the linkages between gender and the areas of work of each division; and discussion of entry-points and methods for incorporating gender perspectives into different types of work. The participants are encouraged to identify a number of concrete steps which they can take to increase attention to gender perspectives in their own day-to-day work. Once all divisions in the department have participated in the programme, a "town-hall meeting" of the entire department will be organized, led by the Under-Secretary-General. Directors of the different divisions will present their plans for bringing greater attention to gender perspectives in their work.

Materials on gender mainstreaming

To further support understanding of the linkages between gender perspectives and the work of the Secretariat, short briefing notes are under preparation on the gender perspectives on a large number of sectors and issues, such as macro-economics, trade, statistics, the environment, social development, population and public administration. The briefing notes introduce the linkages between gender perspectives and the issues being discussed; provide some ideas on what might need to be done differently as a result of understanding these linkages. They offer a resource listing with good references, websites, etc for getting further information. The first set of briefing notes on Gender and Disarmament has been broadly disseminated (and can be accessed on the website of the Department of Disarmament Affairs). Other briefing notes will be available by early 2002.

A short booklet on gender mainstreaming, which will be available by the end of 2001, will provide further guidance on how gender perspectives can be tackled in the different types of work undertaken by the United Nations. In 2002 a follow-up document will be prepared which will give examples of good practice on gender mainstreaming in all sectors and issues covered by the United Nations. These documents will be available from OSAGI and will be accessed through our website:

Gender balance and gender mainstreaming

The two areas of work -- promoting gender balance within the United Nations itself (Office of the Focal Point for Women) and, working to ensure greater attention to gender equality in the work programme (gender mainstreaming) -- are quite separate and are carried out by different groups of staff in the United Nations. However it is important to keep in mind that the two elements together form the total contribution of the United Nations to the promotion of gender equality in the follow-up to the Beijing Platform for Action from 1995.


Network has compiled some gender statistics based on this year's report of the Secretary-General's report to the General Assembly on the "Improvement of the Status of Women in the UN system" (A/56/472 of 15 October 2001).

Women in the Professional category

  • Gender distribution of professional staff on appointments subject to geographical distribution has reached 40.2 %. Ten years ago in June 1991, the percentage of professional women on geographical posts was 29.2 %.
  • Gender distribution of professional staff in the larger population of staff with appointments of one year or more was 34.6 % as of 30 June 2001, a decline of nearly two percentage points since June 2000. The decline is due principally to the increase in the number of staff with appointments of one year or more assigned to peacekeeping missions.
  • There is a notable increase in the percentage of women promoted, particularly at the P-4 level (51.3%). However, there is a notable decrease in the representation of women at the P-5 and P-3 levels on appointments of one year or more. The percentage of women at the P-5 level declined from 32.6% in June 2000 to 29.5% in June 2001. At the P-3 level the percentage decreased from 40.2% to 36.9%.
  • 54.2% of the staff recruited through the national competitive and language examinations between 1 July 2000 and 30 June 2001 were women.
  • Mobility among Professional staff remains low. Nevertheless, women have shown more mobility than men: out of the 55 cases of lateral transfer, 52.7% were women. Also, out of the 50 cases of staff who changed duty station 58% were women.

Women in the General Service and Security Services categories

  • 63 per cent of staff in the General Service category are women.
  • The number of women in the Security Services category in New York has increased from 15 (June 2000) to 19 (June 2001) bringing the percentage to 9.2%.

Senior level appointments

  • There are currently no women Special Representatives of the Secretary-General or Special Envoys on Peace Support Operations. But there is one woman Deputy Head in the UN Mission for the Verification of Human Rights in Guatemala (MINUGUA).
  • Since 2000, two senior women have been appointed as Executive Secretaries of UN Regional Commissions: Ms. Mervat Tallawy in ESCWA; and Ms. Danuta Hübner in ECE. Three of the five UN Regional Commissions have women as Deputy Heads (ECA, ESCAP and ESCWA).
  • At the D-2 level, the percentage of women stood at 17.9 per cent. Between 1 July 2000 and 30 June 2001 three women were promoted to D-2. While no new female recruitments were made at this level, three D-2 women were appointed from within the UN system.
  • At the D-1 level, the percentage of women stands at 30.1.
  • The overall increase in the percentage of women with appointments of one year or more at the senior and policy-making levels (D-1 and above) has been minimal, rising from 24.7% (June 2000) to 24.8% (June 2001).

Performance of UN Secretariat departments

  • Gender balance has been met in two offices, DPI and OPPBA, as well as in the cluster of offices attached to the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Management. However, women still account for less than 30 per cent of the staff in five departments: ECA, ECE, OCSS, UNMOVIC and UNCTAD.
  • 14 departments have met or exceeded the goal of gender balance in the selection of staff for vacant posts during 1 July 2000 - 30 June 2001. These are: DESA, DGAACS, DM/OPPBA, DPA, DPI, ECE, ESCWA, ODCCP, OHRM, OIOS, OLA, UNFIP, UNOG, UNOV.
  • Of the departments that failed to meet the 50 per cent appointment and promotion target, women accounted for less than 30 per cent of the staff selected in five offices: DDA, ECA, OCHA, OCSS, and UNMOVIC.

Women staff members' origin by region

  • The distribution of women professional staff members in the UN Secretariat by geographic origin:
  • Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand: 17.6% of a total of 5508 professional staff (men and women);
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: 4.0%;
  • Africa: 3.9%;
  • Eastern, South Eastern and Central Asia and Oceania: 2.8%;
  • Western Asia: 1.1%.

UN system agencies

  • There has been a marked effort by some of the UN system agencies to appoint women in senior positions. Since September 2000, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), International Labour Office (ILO), UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and World Food Programme (WFP) have all made key appointments.
  • Among the UN system agencies the UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) maintains its lead with 50.4 per cent women. It is followed by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR, 45.5 per cent), UN Children's Fund (UNICEF, 45.1 per cent), Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO, 44.9 per cent), WFP (42.9 per cent), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 41.6 per cent), and Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, 40.9 per cent).

Member State representation

  • As of 1 September 2001, there are ten women Ambassadors accredited to the United Nations in New York out of the 189 Permanent Representative. Currently, there are 16 women Ambassadors at the United Nations office in Geneva.
  • 37 Member States have 50 per cent or more women staff employed in the UN Secretariat: Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Fiji, France, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Japan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Paraguay, Philippines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago.
  • 44 Member States had no women professional staff members in the UN Secretariat: Afghanistan, Andorra, Angola, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cyprus, Democratic People's of Korea, Gabon, Georgia, Grenada, Honduras, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, Nepal, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, and Yemen.

Flash flash flash

Women managers and new technology

In a recent survey conducted by the Simmons Graduate School of Management/Center for Gender in Organizations, the majority of business women interviewed said that they benefit from on-line communication. The 675 American mid-level and senior women managers said that their ideas are more likely to be heard and appreciated than in a traditional face-to-face situation. Half of the respondents felt that their gender matters less when they use email or on-line collaboration tools. Sixty percent said that on-line communication made it easier to get a meaningful place in workplace discussions and decision-making.

For more information:

New ILO publication and database

"Breaking through the glass ceiling: women in management" is a new ILO publication (2001) that gives a comprehensive overview and detailed comparative international statistics related to women's career paths. The book also covers policies for promoting women in management; key elements in furthering career; and the relevant international documents to promote women's equal employment opportunities.

ILO has also produced a new information base on equal employment opportunities for women and men called E.quality@work. The database, which is also available as a CD Rom, contains all the relevant international instruments, guidelines, national legal frameworks and guidelines, as well as trade union policies on equal employment. This excellent information base can be accessed at

Contributions from readers

Network regularly receives requests from different duty stations and field offices of UN agencies to receive copies and to be put on our email list. Thank you for your continued support.

Dear Readers... If there is any manager--female or male--that you would like to recognize as someone who shares our commitment to improving the status of women in the Secretariat, let us know. We will highlight her/his work in our next issue.

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NETWORK--The UN Women's Newsletter
Editor-in-Chief: Aparna Mehrotra, Focal Point for Women
Design and Layout: DPI
Web-Design: WomenWatch
Production: Johanna Klinge, OSAGI/DESA
Printed by the UN Department of Public Information, New York
Focal Point for Women in the Secretariat
Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, DESA
United Nations, Two UN Plaza, DC2-1290, New York, NY 10017
Telephone: (1) 212-963-6828; Fax (1) 212-963-9545
E-mail: Aparna Mehrotra,

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