Dems push Obama to back female UN leader

Dems push Obama to back female UN leader
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Seven female senators are urging President Obama to push the United Nations to elect its first female secretary-general later this year.

“We are grateful that your administration committed the United States to advancing women's meaningful participation in peace and security efforts and hope you will continue to uphold these commitments through the secretary-general selection process,” the senators wrote Thursday in a letter to Obama. “It is incumbent on us to do our part, and so we ask that the United States play a leading role in pressing for the strong consideration of qualified women for the position of UN Secretary-General.”

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The letter was spearheaded by Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Billionaire Steyer to push for Dem House push Billionaire Steyer announces million for Dem House push MORE (D-Calif.) and co-signed by Democratic Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayCDC director to miss fourth hearing because of potential ethics issues Week ahead: Lawmakers near deal on children's health funding Ryan suggests room for bipartisanship on ObamaCare MORE (Wash.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDem senator: Trump 'made clear' that he wants 'white people to come to our country' Hawaii false alarm sparks panic, confusion Dem senator working to ensure Hawaii false alarm ‘never happens again’ MORE (Hawaii), Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinSenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Listen: EMILY’s List upbeat about Dem House in '19 Bolton to spend M boosting Wisconsin Senate candidate MORE (Wis.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandTrump thinks he could easily beat Sanders in 2020 match-up: report Listen: EMILY’s List upbeat about Dem House in '19 Desperate Democrats shouldn't settle for Oprah MORE (N.Y.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSupreme Court to hear online sales tax case State official indicates US military role in Syria post-ISIS centered on Iran Overnight Health Care: Dems press HHS pick on drug prices | Alexander, Trump discuss ObamaCare fix | Senate Dems seek B to fight opioids | Maryland eyes ObamaCare mandate replacement MORE (N.H.) and Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiClinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns Gore wishes Mikulski a happy birthday at 'Inconvenient Sequel' premiere MORE (Md.).

Ban Ki-moon, who has served as secretary general since 2007, is slated to step down at the end of the year.

Seven candidates are vying to replace him, according to Reuters, including three women: U.N. cultural organization Director-General Irina Bokova, former Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusić and Moldova's former Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman.

Candidates also include former Macedonian Foreign Minister Srgjan Kerim, Montenegro Foreign Minister Igor Lukšić, former Slovenian President Danilo Türk and former U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.

U.N. secretary-generals are traditionally rotated based on region, with Eastern Europe up next.

But, the senators argued, a 1997 U.N. resolution also called for gender equality to be considered.

“While the UN has upheld the consideration of regional rotation, it has not given full consideration to gender equality,” they wrote.

There are signs of a systematic lack of representation of women in the U.N., they added. For example, nearly 92 percent of recent appointments to high-level senior positions have been men, they said.

A female secretary-general would both help representation and bring a different prospective to world issues, they said.

“From the refugee crisis worldwide, to the threat of global warming, to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction — the world's increasingly complex problems demand multilateral solutions,” the senators wrote. “The secretary-general's role in resolving these crises is more critical than ever before, requiring fortitude, integrity and proven leadership.”