Where are the Women Leaders in Internal Organizations and What Difference Do They Make?

Kirsten Haack, Margaret P. Karns

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Few scholars have paid attention to the presence (or absence) of women in International Organizations (IO), particularly women playing leadership roles - whether as permanent representatives of member states, international civil servants, executive heads, celebrities, or NGO activists. Women who played key roles in shaping some of the language of the UN Charter in 1945 went largely unnoticed. Yet, in the third decade of the twenty-first century, the “face” of international politics is slowly changing. Heretofore, data on women’s representation has been scarce, but is now slowly being gathered, yet research on women leaders’ contributions remains limited. This chapter examines the questions of who counts as leaders and where they are; the barriers to women’s access and advancement, including the gendered nature of institutional processes and practices; the role of advocacy for change and of networks; what the data look like especially in the UN system; and the key question of what difference women leaders make.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Governance in International Organizations
EditorsAlistair D. Edgar
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781800884922
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2023

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