Women in the UN! What is the situation?

A place to discuss working at the United Nations from day to day conditions, benefits, entitlements, relations with the host country, social security, taxes - everything about the job, once you got the job!
User avatar
Sebastian
Posts: 309
Joined: 19 Jul 2018, 08:33
Has thanked: 116 times
Been thanked: 97 times

Re: Women in the UN! What is the situation?

Post by Sebastian » 14 Jun 2019, 07:02

H.O.P wrote:
13 Jun 2019, 17:52
rjh wrote:
13 Jun 2019, 09:57
I'm a female engineer and recently applied for a position in a hardship duty station. The position wasn't exactly in my field of engineering but I got invited for an interview nonetheless. While I was very excited about making it to the interview stage, a part of me is thinking I was only shortlisted as a token woman to tick the boxes... :?
I think you should be proud of being called. Your field is one of the areas that even has less females. I remember always hearing it’s because women aren’t applying. It’s a good thing you applied because it shows women actually want jobs within your area in the Field. This way there will be no more excuse that there was no applicant.
Indeed, I think you should be proud of being called! Change has to start somewhere. And some organisations are now really actively searching for women - especially engineers (e.g. UNOPS comes to mind). I also do think that every interview you have is great as it is a perfect opportunity to perfect your interviewing skills! Please keep applying, please keep pushing! Good luck!
I'm Sebastian from the UN Job List. I know about the UN Job List and also a little about the UN in general.

User avatar
FromKadugli
Posts: 23
Joined: 06 Aug 2018, 19:56
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Women in the UN! What is the situation?

Post by FromKadugli » 15 Jun 2019, 10:05

Anja wrote:
08 Jun 2019, 18:08
There is a long way to go. Things are changing - I hope in the UN, too. I once had a Director who talked about a non-performing colleague and proudly said things like "she didn't do her job so I fired here! Even though she was pretty!". We all can have a bad boss from time to time. I hope that over time the bad ones are getting fewer...
Not surprising. Still sad. :evil:
H.O.P wrote:
09 Jun 2019, 06:36
It’s still a very long road, but some managers take it more serious than others.
Thank you a lot for tellin gyour story! Do you feel in your day to day job people behave differently since you are a women? Or does it not matter?

H.O.P
Posts: 133
Joined: 21 Sep 2018, 11:51
Has thanked: 55 times
Been thanked: 59 times

Re: Women in the UN! What is the situation?

Post by H.O.P » 15 Jun 2019, 15:12

FromKadugli wrote:
15 Jun 2019, 10:05
Anja wrote:
08 Jun 2019, 18:08
There is a long way to go. Things are changing - I hope in the UN, too. I once had a Director who talked about a non-performing colleague and proudly said things like "she didn't do her job so I fired here! Even though she was pretty!". We all can have a bad boss from time to time. I hope that over time the bad ones are getting fewer...
Not surprising. Still sad. :evil:
H.O.P wrote:
09 Jun 2019, 06:36
It’s still a very long road, but some managers take it more serious than others.
Thank you a lot for tellin gyour story! Do you feel in your day to day job people behave differently since you are a women? Or does it not matter?
My supervisor gives me the same opportunities as my male colleague. I do not feel a difference in treatment from him. Although, my supervisor is actually very good and we get along great, maybe that's why. Outside of my office, I still sometimes feel the male dominating aura, but, I expected this. Since my duty station is mostly male staff and just a handful of females.

mdr
Posts: 66
Joined: 12 Sep 2018, 12:08
Has thanked: 47 times
Been thanked: 37 times

Re: Women in the UN! What is the situation?

Post by mdr » 19 Jun 2019, 22:54

Sebastian wrote:
08 Jun 2019, 17:51

Hi mdr,

thanks so much for sharing this! Your post is touching, encouraging and intriguing at the same time. I know you are new to the UN and I hope you find this a welcoming environment and that you bear with the system while it adapts to modern times... Also thanks for sharing a bit more about your impressions. I hope others find encouragement in your post to go a similar path, too!

And you are right - there is still a long way to go.

@FromKadugli - I see efforts on the recruitment side of things. But I know of organisations who are trying to address the cultural side of things, too. For instance I know that some organisations are trying to allow for more flexible working arrangements, establish child care facilities, provide leadership training etc.
Thank you for the kind words, Sebastian! I'm enjoying my time here so far. In fact, I would say the highlight of being at my duty station is the work, work environment and my colleagues. I'm learning a lot but with a fair bit of growing pains as I navigate my way here being so new and all. And as I said, I feel very glad to meet other women like me among my co-workers. Makes me feel validated to be honest because the journey has not been easy. And to think there are so many other women just as or more qualified but are having a tough time going for such opportunities due to societal views, cultural norms, or other similar restrictions.

mdr
Posts: 66
Joined: 12 Sep 2018, 12:08
Has thanked: 47 times
Been thanked: 37 times

Re: Women in the UN! What is the situation?

Post by mdr » 19 Jun 2019, 23:03

H.O.P wrote:
09 Jun 2019, 06:36
I remember the first time I got called for my interview for this Field UNV position, I already had this bias that I would not be hired because they would definitely prefer to hire a man ( I had the feeling the UN associated hardship location to a “stronger” sex). But, then I got hired.
Interesting thing is I was actually right. I have actually found out the favoured hiring was a guy, but due to the gender parity campaign and the Head of the Field Office (a woman) eagerness to implement it, women were given a priority. Actually when I went through the interview documents (they archive these things), there were about 4 recommended candidates, one male and 3 females, yet the male was preferred at the initial stage.
Also, in my location, the Head of Field is the only female manager. It’s all men. Although she champions hiring more women in management, I do doubt if it will change anytime soon. Although I do admire how she tries to get her managers to listen by evaluating their Gender Parity actions.
What I have observed in not-so-short time in the Field, is that men I generally still favoured, especially in (professional positions). You will generally see more women in other roles, but we all know the professionals are those on the path to become decision makers/managerial positions.
It’s still a very long road, but some managers take it more serious than others.
Thanks for sharing your insights! Wow! I also echo the same about the last bit. At my duty station, I see there are more women in local positions (it's fairly well-balanced actually but slightly more skewed to women in administrative roles for example almost all the Programme Assistants are women) but much fewer in Professional Roles. From our monthly professional meetings, I reckon there's about 30-40% of women in the room while the rest are men. As for P5 positions, there are only 4 women while the rest are men (about 10) and there's only one woman at D-level.

UN linguist
Posts: 15
Joined: 29 Sep 2018, 13:21
Been thanked: 12 times

Re: Women in the UN! What is the situation?

Post by UN linguist » 22 Jul 2019, 17:14

It varies enormously from duty station to duty station and from job area to job area. In my unit, we have 5 P-level posts, 4 of which are currently filled, all by women on permanent or continuing contracts, and 4 GS-level posts, all of which are filled by women on continuing contracts. Our divisional director (D1) is a woman and our last two Directors-General (Under-Secretary-General-level) have been women.

Is sexual harassment still a problem? Sadly, yes, but have I ever felt disadvantaged in a UN recruitment process by being a woman? No, never. By many other considerations, most of which should be completely irrelevant, but not by being a woman.

I don’t know if it still exists, but there used to be a ‘positive discrimination’ policy in place that said that if there was nothing to choose between two candidates after the testing and interviewing stages, one a man and the other a woman, the post should go to the woman. The aim of the policy was to even out the gender imbalance, particularly in the higher levels of the organization. Its results are clearly visible in certain areas and certain levels of the organization.

jane27
Posts: 12
Joined: 17 Aug 2019, 20:22
Been thanked: 12 times

Re: Women in the UN! What is the situation?

Post by jane27 » 17 Aug 2019, 20:56

Hi @FromKadugli ! In our office, our priority is to hire more women, and there has to be a strong justification if men are selected as number one preferred candidate even if there's another woman who passed the interview. But I noticed another more important issue is keeping women, especially in the field offices of non-family duty stations.

Anja
Posts: 33
Joined: 04 Aug 2018, 10:55
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Women in the UN! What is the situation?

Post by Anja » 18 Aug 2019, 09:15

jane27 wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 20:56
Hi @FromKadugli ! In our office, our priority is to hire more women, and there has to be a strong justification if men are selected as number one preferred candidate even if there's another woman who passed the interview. But I noticed another more important issue is keeping women, especially in the field offices of non-family duty stations.
Thanks for sharing. How is the senior management in your office? Is there balance there? And is this a priority from your office or do you get pressure from the SG?

Post Reply