UN Security Council: Women Make History

The United Nations Security Council has always been a male-dominated institution. In fact, traditionally, almost all seats were attributed to men who were then in charge of representing their country’s best interests. However, women lately made history by occupying almost half of the seats in the most powerful body of the United Nations.


What amazing news! Isn’t it?! Since UN Security Council’s creation in 1946, it had never happened! There is a record number of 6 women out of 15 people at the UN Security Council, for the first time in 68 years of existence.



Among the 5 permanent members of the Security Council

       Samantha Power, Ambassador of the United States


Among the 10 rotating members of the Security Council

       Joy Ogwu, Ambassador of Nigeria,

       Raimonda Murmokaite, Ambassador of Lithuania,

       Maria Cristina Perceval, Ambassador of Argentina,

       Dina Kawar, Ambassador of Jordan

       Sylvie Lucas, Ambassador of Luxembourg


Un_WOmen Security Council_WE

Source: Un News Centre

So what does it mean? Does the fact of being a woman affect the way issues are addressed?

First of all, having 6 women in the Security Council offers an impressive symbol. Women break the glass ceiling at the top diplomatic level, hence creating female role models in peace process. This is one of the greatest illustrations of women empowerment on an international stage.

But beyond the nice picture, what does it change? Would women take different decisions from men?


For the Ambassador of Lithuania the answer is clearly negative: “permanent Representatives should be judged by what they do and the results they produce rather than by their gender”.

Female diplomats at the UN Security Council shared the same insight in a recent article, stating that cooperation and decisions tackling peace process are driven by their nation/region’s interests, not by their gender.


While the gender does not seem to impact decisions, female ambassadors pointed out a few differences between men and women when they address humanitarian and security issues. Argentina’s permanent representative to the UN stressed that women would value more the power of dialogue. According to Nigeria’s representative at the UN Security Council, women are  born bridge builders, meaning that they would always tend to look for consensus.


Aside from the debate it offers, the UN Security Council became gender friendly within its own institution.

Let’s make a brief reminder. In 2000, UN adopted the Resolution 1325, which promotes women inclusion in peace and security process: “the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. Resolution 1325 urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts.”
Despite the fact that women were highly promoted in the objectives of the UN institution- including in peace and security process- , they were not significantly involved into high-level decision-making in that same area. But how can you preach for one stand, and do the contrary? This is quite a tricky question, isn’t it? Well, now the UN Security Council gets it right and it is for the best. At least, the UN Security Council sets an example, and this is something we can salute.

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