Breaking Barriers? Women's representation and leadership at the United Nations

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The appointment of Christine Lagarde in 2011 to the leadership of the International Monetary Fund may have been a highlight for women’s representation in international organizations, suggesting that the final glass ceiling for women in global governance has been broken. However, this article shows that leadership and representation by women in global governance continues to be curtailed by “glass walls” on the one hand, and flexible glass ceilings on the other. While women in UN agencies today stand on firmer floors, relying on a stronger institutional framework and increasing numbers of women working at all levels of the UN system, women are channeled into gender-specific portfolios, creating glass walls. Moreover, glass ceilings, once shattered, may indeed resettle as recent staff changes by Ban Ki-moon show. Thus, the picture of women’s representation and gender equality in UN leadership is a mixed one.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe United Nations
EditorsSam Daws, Natalie Samarasinghe
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages3192
ISBN (Print)9781446282175
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Publication series

NameSAGE Library of International Relations


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