Women who successfully break the glass ceiling have historically done so in the context of crises. Crises offer unique windows of opportunity for women because they either legitimize women as suitable candidates or create ‘glass cliffs’ that make positions unattractive to men. This article examines four elections in the WHO, IMF and UNESCO, applying findings from the national to the international. First access to executive office international organizations – the breaking of the glass ceiling – is facilitated by organizational crisis; however, once broken, the importance of crises diminishes. Organizations become regendered or women become seen as acceptable candidates.