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30/01/2014 Will Helen Clark be the first woman to run the UN?

Author: Millennia2015

Source: Jane Martinson - The Guardian






Will Helen Clark be the first woman to run the UN?

Jane Martinson - The Guardian


In the course of a political career that has lasted over 30 years, Helen Clark only thought of quitting once. With a personal poll rating of just 2% soon after becoming party leader in 1993, she asked a few close friends whether there was any point continuing. "They said, 'You've just got to keep standing there', which was the best advice. If you keep standing, actually very few will come after you."


Clark went on to become New Zealand's first elected female prime minister in 1999 – leading for three consecutive terms – and is now the most powerful woman at the United Nations, working her second term as head of the UN development programme. She could well become the first woman to lead the organisation once the incumbent Ban Ki-Moon stands down in a few years.


En route to Davos, the alpine schmoozefest for powerbrokers, Clark was in London last week to deliver a lecture on leadership for the Women of the Year organisation. With so few female heads of state to act as a yardstick, she has been compared to Margaret Thatcher, despite her vastly different Labour party politics and incredibly impressive, no-nonsense support of other women.

On the advice from close friends to keep on as party leader, she persisted. "They said: 'Don't give in.' It's not in my nature to give in anyway." She lambasts organisers at Davos for failing to increase the number of women and, on panels, happily discusses female representation in the same breath as her views on Syria or other affairs of state. 



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