Just 22 women leaders addressed the United Nations General Assembly’s General Debate this year out of 193 world leaders who spoke at the famous Green Podium. The figure reflects a poor representation of women in leadership positions globally and in international politics. The number of male world leaders stood at 171, almost 8 times the number of women leaders at the seventy-seventh session of the assembly.
A breakup, as collated by WION, gives out more shocking numbers. Just four women presidents, five at the prime ministers level, one at the vice president level, eight at the foreign ministers’ level, one at the minister of state for foreign minister level and three at the ambassadors’ level spoke. The maximum number of women leaders were from the European continent at seven, followed by Africa at four, Asia at four (one each from ASEAN, Indian subcontinent, West Asia, Central Asia regions), Pacific/Oceania at three, American continent at two and one each from Australia and Caribbean. UAE’s representative was the only Arab woman present during this year’s addresses, and the same stands true for Bangladesh PM Hasina is the only women leader from the Indian subcontinent.
The women leaders who spoke at UNGA this year were, Slovakia’s President Zuzana Čaputová, Honduras’s President Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento, Moldova’s President Maia Sandu, Hungary’s President Katalin Novák, Uganda Vice President Jessica Alupo, UK PM Elizabeth Truss, Barbados PM Mia Amor Mottley, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, Samoa PM Fiame Naomi Mataafa, South Africa’s Foreign minister Naledi Pandor, Australia FM Penny Wong, Liechtenstein FM Dominique Hasler, Chad FM Awatif Altidjani Ahmed Koiboro, Sweden FM Ann Christin Linde, Iceland FM Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Indonesia’s FM Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, Canada FM Mélanie Joly, UAE’s Minister of State for foreign affairs Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Turkmenistan Permanent Representative to the UN Aksoltan Ataeva, Angola’s envoy to UN Maria de Jesus dos Reis Ferreira and Nauru’s envoy to UN Josie Ann Dongobir.
provocatively, the youngest leader to speak at the General Assembly this year was a woman–Iceland’s foreign minister Gylfadóttir, who is 34 years old (4 November 1987). The second youngest leader to speak at the assembly was Chile’s president at 36 years of age (February 11, 1986), followed by Montenegro’s PM at 36 years of age (December 25 1986). The average age of women leaders at the green podium stood at 52.3, with the oldest women leader to make an address this year being Bangladesh PM Hasina who is 74 years old.
Among women leaders, the longest speech was made by Samoa’s PM at 39.09 minutes which was the second longest speech overall, the first being of Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas who spoke for 48.21 Minutes. All in All, 77 Presidents, 46 PMS, 51 Foreign ministers, seven Ambassadors, four vice presidents, two kings, one prince, one Amir, one foreign secretary, one chancellor, one minister of state for foreign affairs and one Pope’s representative (Secretary of State-Cardinal Pietro Parolin) addressed the gathering. Guinea-Bissau’s President Úmaro Sissoco Embaló made the shortest speech at 8.24 minutes.
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