UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday the United Nations needs more women in top positions as it strives to raise the profile of women’s issues and fights gender-based violence.
Clinton, who made history as the first mainstream female candidate to seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. president, said there are women whose potential for leadership remains largely untapped.
“As the United Nations strives to better support the world’s women, it would benefit from having more women in more of its leadership positions,” Clinton told a packed auditorium at the U.N., which was marking 15 years since a U.N. conference in Beijing which focused on women’s equality.
The remarks, which came at the end of a two-week meeting on women’s issues, sparked cheers and applause from the crowd.
Clinton also put her backing behind a U.N. plan to create a “super-agency” that will raise the profile of women’s issues.
The United Nations plans to consolidate four of its bodies focusing on women into a single agency.
“Women are still the majority of the world’s poor, the uneducated, the unhealthy, the unfed,” Clinton said.
“In too many places, women are treated not as full and equal human beings with their own rights and aspirations, but as lesser creatures.”
The suffering of women and the instability of nations go “hand in hand,” and the subjugation of women is “a threat to the national security of the United States,” Clinton said.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who took over from Kofi Annan in January 2007, has made an effort to increase the number of women in high-level positions at the organization.
Among high-ranking women are Asha-Rose Migiro of Tanzania, named Deputy Secretary-General shortly after Ban arrived, and former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, whom Ban appointed to head the U.N. Development Program last year.
Editing by Todd Eastham