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UN names Popular comic-book character Wonder Woman as Ambassador for Empowerment of Women and Girls

The United Nations, Gallach said on Friday, believes the use of Wonder Woman "will help us reach a broad audience to stand up for action on improving gender equality"

Wonder Woman, Pixabay

United Nations, October 22, 2016: The United Nations on Friday officially named the popular comic-book character Wonder Woman as the Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls.

“Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but also a foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world, and Wonder Woman will be another valuable partner for us to achieve such a world by inspiring her millions of fans worldwide to stand up for gender equality,” EFE news quoted the UN under-secretary-general for communications and public information Spain’s Cristina Gallach as saying.

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The choice of the comic character, however, has sparked complaints among some UN personnel and representatives of various countries, who say it would be much more appropriate to use a real live person to represent women and girls.

Dozens of officials and diplomats protested against the decision on Friday during the presentation of this collaboration of the United Nations with DC Entertainment, owner of rights to the superheroine.

The United Nations, Gallach said on Friday, believes the use of Wonder Woman “will help us reach a broad audience to stand up for action on improving gender equality”.

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The organisation’s spokeswoman, Stephane Dujarric, also recalled that the UN has many real women as honorary ambassadors, and Wonder Woman just joins their ranks.

“I think this is a new and creative way for us to reach a different audience with critical messages about women’s empowerment,” EFE news quoted Dujarric as saying.

Among other celebrities, the United Nations collaborates on gender equality issues with Queen Mathilde of Belgium, activists Graca Machel and Alaa Murabit, and actresses Emma Watson and Charlize Theron.

The comic-book character will be part of a campaign to promote the goals of gender equality included in the Sustainable Development Goals approved in 2015 by the UN to replace the Millennium Development Goals.

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According to the United Nations, Wonder Woman will remind everyone of the collective achievements that are possible through the empowerment of women, and that everyone everywhere can lend a hand.

Taking part in the event held on Friday at UN headquarters were, among others, actresses Lynda Carter — who played Wonder Woman on television in the 1970s — and Gal Gadot, the new superheroine. (IANS)

  • Antara

    Such an amazing initiative!

Next Story

UN Launches Campaign to Bring Young Generation into Gender Equality Fight

UN Women announced its new "Generation Equality: Realizing women's rights for an equal future'' at a news conference

gender equality
FILE - Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of U.N. Women, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in New York, March 7, 2018. VOA

The U.N. women’s agency launched a campaign Monday to bring a young generation of women and men into the campaign for gender equality ahead of next year’s 25th anniversary of the conference that adopted the only international platform to achieve women’s rights and empowerment.

UN Women announced its new “Generation Equality: Realizing women’s rights for an equal future” at a news conference where it also made public events planned to mark adoption of the 150-page platform for action to achieve gender equality by 189 governments at the 1995 Beijing women’s conference.

“Today, nearly 25 years after the historic Beijing conference, the reality is that not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality,” said a statement from UN Women’s executive director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “Despite some progress, real change has been too slow for most women and girls in the world, and we see significant pushback in many places.”

“Women continue to be discriminated against and their contributions undervalued,” she added. “They work more, earn less and have fewer choices about their bodies, livelihoods and futures than men – and they experience multiple forms of violence at home, at work and in public spaces.”

gender equality
Chinese women delegates walk together to pose outside the Great Hall of the People after attending a plenary session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing, Thursday, March 8, 2018. VOA

Mlambo-Ngcuka said the General Equality campaign is aimed at speeding systematic change “on the laws, policies and outdated mindsets that must no longer curtail women’s voice, choice and safety.”

UN Women’s deputy executive director, Asa Regner, said at the news conference that there have been positive results since Beijing. She pointed to a record number of girls in school, better access to health care, a decrease in maternal mortality, more women in top positions in the business world and fresh efforts to address violence against women and to put women at peace negotiating tables. But she said the biggest challenges are to change male-dominated “power structures” that leave far more women and girls facing poverty and violence.

Ahead of next year’s anniversary events, UN Women has asked all 193 U.N. member nations to submit details and data on what their countries have done to implement the 1995 Beijing platform, Regner said. As of Friday, she said, it had received 22 responses but hopes the entire membership will answer.

The Beijing platform called for bold actions in 12 critical areas for women and girls including combatting poverty and violence, improving human rights and access to reproductive and sexual health care, and ensuring that all girls get an education and that women are at the top levels of business and government, and the top table in peace negotiations.

Events leading up to next year’s anniversary include the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women’s annual meeting in March 2020 devoted to Beijing’s implementation, a high-level meeting when world leaders gather for the annual General Assembly session in September 2020, and a “Global Gender Equality Forum” co-hosted by France and Mexico in France bringing civil society representatives and activists of all ages together to look to the future. No date has been announced yet for that event.

gender equality
UN Women announced its new “Generation Equality: Realizing women’s rights for an equal future” at a news conference. VOA

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at Monday evening’s opening of an exhibition on women who were part of the Soviet Union’s military effort in World War II that “we will not achieve peace” or any of the U.N.’s development goals for 2030 “without the full and equal participation of women.”

“Yet we all know that there is still a stark imbalance of power around the world, and we are even seeing a backlash in some areas against women’s rights,” he said.

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Regner said the majority of countries favor progress on gender equality, but there is “pushback.” There are governments and movements, she said, that value “so-called traditional family values and other ideas around women’s and men’s roles both in families and in societies which do not correspond to international agreements, and which would not necessarily give women the space and possibility to decide over their own lives, bodies, economic empowerment, etc.”

Regner, a former Swedish minister, said UN Women’s task is to spur implementation of Beijing and other agreements – and “we will never back down.” (VOA)