Women in the UN! What is the situation?

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FromKadugli
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Women in the UN! What is the situation?

Post by FromKadugli » 01 Jun 2019, 09:00

I would like to start an important discussion about Women in the UN. What are your experiences with gender parity?

The SG is quite clear about this topic:
Gender parity at the United Nations is an urgent need – and a personal priority. It is a moral duty and an operational necessity.

The meaningful inclusion of women in decision-making increases effectiveness and productivity, brings new perspectives and solutions to the table, unlocks greater resources and strengthens efforts across all the three pillars of our work.
https://www.un.org/gender/

What is your experience? Nice words? Actual results? Which organisation takes this most serious?

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

Post by AgnesP » 01 Jun 2019, 10:22

That's a great question - I think times are changing but very slowly...

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

Post by Sebastian » 01 Jun 2019, 11:46

I believe this topic is getting further traction - I can see a lot of efforts in the system to achieve gender parity, address conscious and unconscious biases and remove other barriers for all genders to join the UN. But I would also think the UN still has a long way to go to make this all a reality. I would encourage additional voices to chime in - thank!
I'm Sebastian from the UN Job List. I know about the UN Job List and also a little about the UN in general.

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

Post by FromKadugli » 01 Jun 2019, 12:47

Thanks @AgnesP! @Sebastian where do you see efforts?

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

Post by mdr » 07 Jun 2019, 20:06

FromKadugli wrote:
01 Jun 2019, 09:00
I would like to start an important discussion about Women in the UN. What are your experiences with gender parity?

The SG is quite clear about this topic:
Gender parity at the United Nations is an urgent need – and a personal priority. It is a moral duty and an operational necessity.

The meaningful inclusion of women in decision-making increases effectiveness and productivity, brings new perspectives and solutions to the table, unlocks greater resources and strengthens efforts across all the three pillars of our work.
https://www.un.org/gender/

What is your experience? Nice words? Actual results? Which organisation takes this most serious?
I'm new to the UN and if you're referring to gender parity in hiring processes, I'd agree with Sebastian that efforts are being made but still some ways to go. I am myself a female from a minority country and I'm glad to meet quite a few other women (in Professional positions) with a similar status at my duty station. I realised that perhaps one of the reasons why there are so few of us are because of cultural norms [from some countries] with regards to women moving away to work abroad, being away from family, etc. Certainly is very uncommon in my country. Not that people in my circle disapproved but were very surprised I was "allowed to go by my family". My late father would have put up a lot of resistance. But I'm glad to note that I was not alone in my experience from the women I work with. I think there have been considerable efforts made by my organisation to recruit more women especially from minority countries but there are still very few of us. Most of the Professional positions at my duty station are filled by men e.g. in my Team meetings of about 15 people, there are only 3 women.

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

Post by Sebastian » 08 Jun 2019, 17:51

mdr wrote:
07 Jun 2019, 20:06
FromKadugli wrote:
01 Jun 2019, 09:00
I would like to start an important discussion about Women in the UN. What are your experiences with gender parity?

The SG is quite clear about this topic:
Gender parity at the United Nations is an urgent need – and a personal priority. It is a moral duty and an operational necessity.

The meaningful inclusion of women in decision-making increases effectiveness and productivity, brings new perspectives and solutions to the table, unlocks greater resources and strengthens efforts across all the three pillars of our work.
https://www.un.org/gender/

What is your experience? Nice words? Actual results? Which organisation takes this most serious?
I'm new to the UN and if you're referring to gender parity in hiring processes, I'd agree with Sebastian that efforts are being made but still some ways to go. I am myself a female from a minority country and I'm glad to meet quite a few other women (in Professional positions) with a similar status at my duty station. I realised that perhaps one of the reasons why there are so few of us are because of cultural norms [from some countries] with regards to women moving away to work abroad, being away from family, etc. Certainly is very uncommon in my country. Not that people in my circle disapproved but were very surprised I was "allowed to go by my family". My late father would have put up a lot of resistance. But I'm glad to note that I was not alone in my experience from the women I work with. I think there have been considerable efforts made by my organisation to recruit more women especially from minority countries but there are still very few of us. Most of the Professional positions at my duty station are filled by men e.g. in my Team meetings of about 15 people, there are only 3 women.
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.
I'm Sebastian from the UN Job List. I know about the UN Job List and also a little about the UN in general.

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

Post by Anja » 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...

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

Post by H.O.P » 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.

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

Post by rjh » 13 Jun 2019, 09:57

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.
Thank you for your insights H.O.P - very interesting to hear about your experiences.

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... :?

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

Post by H.O.P » 13 Jun 2019, 17:52

rjh wrote:
13 Jun 2019, 09:57
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.
Thank you for your insights H.O.P - very interesting to hear about your experiences.

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.

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