UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as part of his gender parity strategy for the world organization, announced on Friday that for the first time, "We have now reached parity in the UN Senior Management Group."
"That means 50-50 among the top leaders of the UN Secretariat," he said. "In fact it is slightly higher -- 23 women and 21 men. This is a start."
The group brings together the heads of UN departments, offices, funds and programs to discuss policy matters, planning and information sharing in the face of emerging challenges and cross-cutting issues and is chaired by Guterres.
In a brief statement to reporters outside Security Council chambers initially focused on efforts to bring to an end the civil war in Syria, he abruptly changed topics, saying sexual harassment "is rightly gaining the attention and visibility it deserves."
The UN chief reaffirmed his "total commitment to the UN's zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment."
Acknowledging "the male-dominated culture that permeates governments, the private sector, international organizations and even areas of civil society," he said it creates "obstacles to upholding zero tolerance policies on sexual harassment, including here at the United Nations."
Determined to remove the obstacles, Guterres said they are "rooted in the historic power imbalances between men and women" and that is why he sought gender-parity in the world organization. (Xinhua)