15 September 2014 – The United Nations Security Council has long been a bastion for men selected to represent their countries on what many consider to be the Organization’s most powerful body. But now, women ambassadors are filling over a third of the Council’s 15 seats, making history at the venerable institution and sending out a strong message about women’s empowerment.
“It’s a little strange that it’s taken us this long,” said Ambassador Sylvie Lucas of Luxembourg. “I think that it is important to have women representing their countries in the organ of the United Nations which is dealing with international peace and security.”
Ms. Lucas shares the distinction of being one of six women on the Council – along with Ambassadors Joy Ogwu of Nigeria, Raimonda Murmokaite of Lithuania, Maria Cristina Perceval of Argentina, Samantha Power of the United States, and Dina Kawar of Jordan – all of whom recently sat down with the UN News Centre to share their views on representing their nations and on making history.
Aside from the symbolism it offers, the question remains as to what difference having six women on the Council will make.
“Permanent Representatives should be judged by what they do and the results they produce rather than by their gender,” Ambassador Murmokaite stated.
“I think it’s a great Council, you have formidable personalities.
|“Permanent Representatives should be judged by what they do and the results they produce rather than by their gender,” .|
You have very strong characters. You have fantastic professionals who are working together. This Council is an inspiration in so many ways because every single ambassador who’s there…you learn lots from them…as individuals, as human beings, as professionals, as diplomats. But also, you see that they care deeply about what they do, so it’s a fantastic environment to work in ...
“In too many places around the world, women don’t have the opportunities, even basic opportunities,” she added. “It is an enormous message of empowerment but also an enormous message of what women can do, how women can contribute, if they are given this opportunity.”
When asked if there is a difference in cooperation among the women diplomats, several of them remarked that, whether male or female, the primary responsibility of ambassadors is to represent the interests of their nations.
While it is “good news” that there are six women sitting on the Council, she added, they have to represent the interests of their countries and the common positions of their regions.“We have common positions on certain issues and we have differences in other situations,” said Ambassador Perceval, a former senator who is the first woman to serve as Argentina’s Permanent Representative to the UN. “But the most important [thing] is that, in general, women value the power of dialogue.”